Regavim prevents illegal Arab construction at critical junction

Regavim prevents illegal Arab construction at critical junction

An illegal two-story structure that had towered over the road connecting Gush Etzion to Jerusalem was demolished by Israeli forces. The structure posed a clear and imminent threat to thousands of motorists who use the road daily.

Last month, when all other avenues of appeal for enforcement – including repeated complaints, queries and requests to the Civil Administration -were exhausted, the Regavim Movement filed a lawsuit, petitioning the High Court to compel the government to act.  

After considering Regavim’s petition, High Court Justices Barak-Erez, Mintz, and Ronen required the government to explain, within two weeks, why it was failing to enforce the law; Regavim’s arguments were accepted and endorsed in full. The state’s attorney responded that steps were being taken to demolish the illegal structure; yesterday, it finally happened.

The structure in question was built adjacent to Route 398, a bypass road that enables motorists to avoid the Arab villages Beit Sahour and Zaatra. The bypass road, known as “the Lieberman Route,” provides access to Herodion National Park and is the main thoroughfare used by residents of eastern Gush Etzion communities traveling to and from Jerusalem. Regavim has documented massive illegal construction along the route in recent years that has formed a stranglehold on Jerusalem and cut off Gush Etzion, endangering motorists who are forced to travel through a hostile gauntlet rather than safely bypass densely populated Palestinian Authority-controlled villages.

Photo courtesy Regavim

The structure that was demolished yesterday is one of dozens – some of them massive, luxurious villas built illegally along the entire length of the bypass road in Area C, under full Israeli jurisdiction.

Roi Drucker, Regavim’s Field Coordinator for Judea and Samaria: “The enforcement activity carried out on the Lieberman Road is a positive development, but we are disgusted by the fact that we are forced to take the government to court again and again to see even the most basic law enforcement or protection of Israeli lives and rights in Judea and Samaria.”

“We are are encouraged when our efforts achieve results, and hope that small but significant victories like these will empower the Israeli government to change its approach and take a proactive stance toward protecting our Israel’s national interests and the security of its citizens,” Drucker added.

“Mass-scale illegal construction along the Lieberman Road that connects the communities of the Herodion Region to Jerusalem poses a safety and security threat. This road cannot be allowed to turn into a repilca of Huwara. Israeli motorists must not be sitting ducks on the roads of Judea and Samaria,” said Yaron Rosenthal, Head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council. “I made a promise that I would fight the illegal construction along the road, and we are keeping that promise.”

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