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Israeli Attorney General slams Defence Minister for settlement expansion in West Bank

February 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Israel’s Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, on Tuesday sent a strongly worded letter to Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alone, accusing security forces of acting wrongly in protecting illegal settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli newspaper said.

The Israeli daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported that Weinstein wrote to Ya’alone asking him to ensure criminal enforcement of planning and construction violations in the West Bank without delay.

“There is hardly any criminal enforcement of planning and construction violations in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], this is largely due to the absence of an investigative body charged with handling the issue,” Weinstein is reported to have written.

Weinstein wrote that he had highlighted the issue in his testimony to the Israeli High Court of Justice last year. He said that the defence forces are working to reinforce the Civil Administration’s inspection unit in the West Bank.

He also wrote in his letter to Ya’alone: “In my letter to the previous defence minister, I expressed my view that the unit charged with overseeing construction at the Civil Administration, which operates at the administrative level, should take on investigative duties at the criminal level.”

According to the newspaper, the attorney general noted that the issue was also raised by the state auditor in a report issued last year.

Weinstein said that the report of the state auditor suggested that the lack of criminal enforcement in the area of planning and construction violations in Judea and Samaria [West Bank] helps perpetuate the status quo where people are free to do as they wish.