Israeli State Prosecution said, on Wednesday, that it is opposed to resuming the constructions of illegal houses in the Matityahu-East settlement neighborhood, in the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Upper Modi’in, constructed on Palestinian annexed orchards.
The prosecution, and in spite its objection to the construction of new houses, did not object to any of the illegal houses that have already been completed.
The response of the prosecution was presented at the Israeli High Court during a hearing on a petition filed by Peace Now Movement.
The construction was halted two months ago by an interim ruling issued by the High Court.
Also, the state prosecution asked the court to set a criteria for populating the illegal houses that have been already constructed.
Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that High Court Justices Aharon Barak, Ayala Procaccia and Eliezer Rivlin raised the possibility of forcing construction companies Heftizba and Green Park to grant refunds to the buyers.
If the refund is enforced, the step could be considered as a preliminary step ahead of complying with the demand of Peace Now movement to demolish all the illegal constructions.
There are 40 buildings which were not completed in the settlement, some of these buildings were approved by the Upper Modi’in settlement council while the rest were illegally constructed.
The court said that it is considering launching a criminal investigation against the contractors and people responsible for the illegal constructions. The lands that were initially used to build the settlement, and the lands used for constructing the new houses, belong to the Palestinian residents of Bil’in, and other villages near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The illegal construction plan was published in two Israeli religious newspapers; Hamodia and Yated Ne’eman. Yet, Israel intends to prepare a master plan to legalize the neighborhood after passing it through building and construction committees in Israel.
The plan to construct the settlement neighborhood was initially revealed by Haaretz in December 2005.
Most of the orchards of Bil’in residents have been isolated by the Israeli annexation wall, including lands on which Matityahu-East illegal settlement is built.
Israeli and Palestinian humanitarian organizations revealed that the route of the annexation wall was influenced by the settlement construction plan in the area. Israel annexed private Palestinian lands, gave them the status of “state land” and then leased to construction companies managed by settler leaders.
Also, the construction of the Wall in the occupied territories encouraged settlers to but houses there, in addition to the fact that houses in settlements have lower prices than houses inside the borders of Israel, in addition to other benefits for the settlers.
One year ago, the Israel Land Administration’s full plan for development in the West Bank was published; it included the legalization of 120 illegal settlement outposts in spite that the United States has demanded Israel dismantle.
All of the construction plans were issued by the “Israeli Land Administration” which was headed by the acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert. These plans include1,500 illegal units in Modiin Ilit settlement, and 4890 houses in other West Bank areas.