Israel Police find more settler construction on private Palestinian land (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Chaim Levinson 06/13/12)
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The Binyamin Regional Council is suspected of allowing a contractor
to continue building a project on Palestinian land, even after it had
received a stop-work order from the Civil Administration, police said
on Tuesday, citing documented evidence.
Since 2009, the National Fraud Squad has been investigating the
construction of a waste purification plant near Ofra, which was built
on Palestinian-owned land at the initiative of the regional council
and with partial funding from the state.
After it was completed, the Palestinian landowners, through the Yesh
Din organization, petitioned the High Court of Justice to demolish
the structure. The state responded that it was searching for a way to
legally operate the plant, as it was desperately needed to treat
Ofra´s sewage, which had been flowing into local streams and
polluting the mountain aquifer for 30 years.
But to expropriate the land from its Palestinian owners for public
purposes, the plant would also have to serve Ofra´s Palestinian
neighbors. The plant, however, is too small to serve the neighboring
The High Court ruled that the plant could not operate until a legal
solution is found. A civil suit has also been filed, demanding
compensation for the landowners.
Meanwhile, the fraud squad began to probe suspicions that public
funds had been illegally transferred to finance the treatment plant.
Documents obtained by Haaretz indicate that in 2008, regional council
chairman Avi Roeh issued a fictitious building permit for the site,
although he had no authorization to do so because the Civil
Administration had never approved a building plan in Ofra. The
document states that the land had been confiscated for military
purposes, when in fact it was registered in the name of a
Palestinian. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 06/13/12)
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