Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported Thursday that the Legal Counselor of the Israeli Government sent an official document to Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, asking him ensure the government closely monitors illegal constructions conducted by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.Barak said that the Civil Administration Office in the occupied West Bank must thoroughly monitor illegal constructions in order to be able to file charges against violators.
Haaretz said that the Counselor, Yehuda Feinstein, sent his letter to Barak several months ago, in an attempt to crack down on illegal constructions in Israeli settlements and settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank.
He said that, so far, no actions were taken against the illegal constructions, and no charges were filed against the violators.
Barak responded to Feinstein’s letter by informing him that “the issue is currently being dealt with”, and that the government is currently weighing the possibility of training personnel of the Monitoring Unit of the Civil Administration Office in order to grant them the power to conduct and lead criminal investigations, and to press charges against violators.
Haaretz added that, “despite the fact that the monitoring teams are active in monitoring constructions in settlements, and despite their ability to identify violators in a timely manner and to issue demolition orders, such orders are implemented in a very slow manger, and face continuous delays, due to pressures practiced by right-wing coalition parties of the Netanyahu government.
This is happening besides the fact that the current right-wing government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu is acting on boosting settlement construction and expansion activities in the occupied West Bank.
Settlements are illegal under International Law, and under the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is a signatory.