Seven years after the illegal seizure of State land, and after numerous petitions submitted by Regavim, the Israel Land Authority has finally begun to take action against a family that has been squatting near Beit Hananya, adjacent to Israel’s Coastal Highway.
Seven years ago, Abed Muslam Najaar, and the family of Atta Mansur Najaar, illegally occupied land adjacent to Beit Hananya in the Hof HaCarmel Regional Municipality – land that is registered to the Israel Land Authority. The squatters fenced in the tract of land, and built barns, sheds, and storage structures – all without permits of any kind.
Two years ago, Regavim submitted a complaint to the ILA and demanded that steps be taken to investigate and enforce laws that prohibit encroachment on State land and illegal construction. After filing three separate complaints and receiving no response whatsoever, and as a result of the Municipality’s complete failure to take action against the squatters, Regavim was forced to take the matter to court.
In August 2017, Regavim sued the the Israel Land Authority, in light of its ongoing failure to enforce the law against squatters on State land – a problem described by Justice Rubinstein as a “national scourge of epidemic proportions.”
As a result of Regavim’s lawsuit, Keren Kayemet l’Yisrael (the JNF) and the ILA recently served indictments against the squatters, requiring them to remove all structures and fences from the land and pay seven years of fees for the illegal use of the land on which they had been squatting. The squatters were further required to restore the plot of land to its original condition.
This is a case of intolerable negligence on the part of the authorities, and it is unreasonable that the law is enforced only as a result of pressure exerted by a private NGO. The Prime Minister of Israel, The Israel Police – ????? ????? , and the ILA have been entrusted with protecting Israel’s resources through enforcement of the law. It’s time they rise to the challenge!