Knesset committee advances bill to legalize 1,000s of Judea, Samaria homes

The state has taken another step towards legalizing thousands of homes in question in Judea and Samaria. 

By Jack Gold, World Israel News Staff

The Regulation Law 2, aka the Fabric of Life Law, which seeks to legalize unapproved Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria that exist on state land, was approved on Sunday by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation.

The bill is being promoted by MK Bezalel Samotrich with the support of Education Minister and Chairman of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett, despite the opposition of the Attorney General’s representative, Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri.

The bill, which finalizes the legal status of these communities, includes three main components:

– Setting a two-year time frame for the legalization of the communities. The government will be required to complete the regulation process of these Israeli communities within two years of the enactment of the law.

– An interim period, making it possible for these communities to receive the municipal services to which every citizen is entitled, including permanent connections to electricity and water, garbage collection, maintenance of kindergartens and more. As it now stands, the State Comptroller prohibits local authorities, government ministries and government companies from providing municipal services to thousands of Israeli families because of their community’s irregular legal status.

– The freezing of Israeli home demolitions until the completion of the legalization proceedings. All enforcement procedures and administrative orders will be halted and no enforcement actions will be carried out by the Civil Administration without direct instruction by the minister of defense or the prime minister and with the Cabinet’s approval.

In May 2017, a government decision dictated the establishment of a team in the Prime Minister’s Office to arrange and finalize the legal status of communities built on state land. These are communities that were established decades ago with the support of the government, and they are home to some 6,000 families.

Nevertheless, the process has progressed slowly and without effectiveness.

Communities ‘hanging between heaven and earth’

“A right-wing government cannot treat the citizens of Judea and Samaria as second-class citizens. The Fabric of Life law rectifies many years of injustice, after bureaucratic restrictions prevented the heads of the municipalities in Judea, Samaria and Binyamin from caring for their residents for basic services. We will correct that,” Bennett stated.

“These are normative families who contribute to the state and society and live on state land. Citizens who have obligations must also have rights. We must implement the will of the voter, implement right-wing policies, support the law and rectify the injustice,” he added.

Smotrich stated that “we’re talking about whole communities hanging between heaven and earth. The councils cannot take responsibility because they [the communities] are not regulated, and thousands of families do not receive a citizen’s minimal services.”

The State of Israel “has established a magnificent settlement, and it is its responsibility to allow a normal fabric of life for its residents. These citizens of Judea and Samaria carry the same obligations. It’s time they received the same rights,” he said.

Smotrich called on Netanyahu to advance the law “as quickly as possible in order to give the citizens what they deserve. This government is committed to arranging settlement, and this commitment cannot remain only at the level of talk. It is time to move on to the stage of action.”