Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has approved paving an access road to the settlement of Harasha in Binyamin region, with the clear implication that the move awards de facto legalization to the settlement, Israel Hayom reported Thursday.
Harasha was established in January 1999, on the very rocky hilltop where Defense Minister and later Prime Minister Ariel Sharon used to bring foreign dignitaries to show them the importance of Israeli control over the Judea and Samaria ridges – arguing that should Israel hand these areas over to a Palestinian State, said state would control all of Coastal Israel, including Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion International Airport.
About 35 families with more than 200 people settled in Harasha, and then, in 2005, the very same Ariel Sharon commissioned a report to examine the legality of some 150 communities in Judea and Samaria, the author of which, the former head of the State Prosecution Criminal Department Talia Sasson—a card carrying member of the leftwing Meretz—declared Harasha illegal.
The AG approved the new road which would be paved using the Bizarro method of “excavation and cover,” according to which the land for the road is expropriated from the Arabs who own it, following which a cement roof is constructed above the road, with topsoil, where the local Arabs are invited to plant their orchards and wheat fields and whatnot, provided they don’t suffer from vertigo.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked issued a statement saying: “Since the beginning of this term, I have set a goal to normalize the lives of the residents of Judea and Samaria and legalize as many settlements as possible. We have gone from a conversation about evacuations to a discourse of regulation. These moves are strengthening the settlement enterprise.”
Shaked was referencing the Regulation Act of 2017, which aims to retroactively legalize Israeli settlements in Area C of Judea and Samaria, which under the Oslo Accords is under complete Israeli military and civilian control. The act regulates the status of between 2,000 and 4,000 homes in 16 settlements, whose status was altered by the Sasson report.
Passed by the Knesset with a 60 to 52 majority, the law stipulates that the land on which the homes in question were built is completely or partially owned by local Arabs, but expropriates their usage, and in exchange offers the owners compensation at a rate of 125% of market value, or gives them alternative lands, if possible.
On February 8, 2017, when the law was challenged at the High Court of Justice by 17 local Arab municipalities and three anti-Israeli NGOs, Attorney General Mandelblit announced he would not represent the state in defense of the law which he deemed to be a violation of International law which could lead to an International Criminal Court indictment.
That initial objection has apparently been removed and the AG is now happy to approve his government’s moves done using the Regulation Act.
Or, as the Talmud puts it (Berakhot 34b:21-22): “The place which the repentant occupy, the perfectly righteous are unable to occupy.”