Motti Yogev (Jewish Home), chair of the Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Judea and Samaria blasted Israel’s inaction over illegal Arab construction, and called upon the government to begin actively fighting the European Union’s campaign to establish facts on the ground.
Citing the recently released comptroller’s report on the Civil Administration’s failure to enforce construction laws in Judea and Samaria, Yogev pointed out the disproportionate level of illegal Arab construction and the low rate of enforcement.
Yogev pointed out that, according to the comptroller report, some 75% of illegal construction in Area C is done by Arabs. This despite the fact that Arabs are a minority in the area with between 70,000 to 100,000 Arabs living in Area C, compared to some 400,000 Jews.
Noting that only 10% of illegal structures receive demolition orders – and not all orders are carried out – Yogev called upon the state to make a coordinated effort to rein in illegal construction.
Much of the illegal construction is carried out with the support of the EU, which has helped build over 1,000 illegal structures across Area C over the past few years.
Meir Deutsch, a representative from the Regavim watchdog group, which monitors illegal Arab construction, told the subcommittee that the EU was also heavily involved in the creation of infrastructure to support illegally built villages.
“We’ve identified a fixed patter in which the EU transfers funds to the Palestinian Authority, which then carries out the [construction] while focusing on strategic areas – including the building of roads across Judea and Samaria towards Jordan.”
In response, Yogev labelled the EU’s campaign to establish facts on the ground “construction and infrastructure terror”, and demanded the state take a more aggressive stand on the issue.
“The state must preserve its land and its responsibility over it, and not allow the EU to do as it pleases. Construction and infrastructure terror exists throughout Judea and Samaria, with the funding of countries whose goal is to affect the reality here. We must lead the policy rather than be led.”