Nachman: Gov't persecuting us
Photo: Gil Lerner
Supervisors from the Civil Administration confiscated construction materials in the West Bank Monday, claiming that their presence there was a violation of the government-imposed 10-month construction freeze.
A drilling truck was confiscated from Ariel, the largest city in Samaria. Mayor Ron Nachman condemned the move, saying he felt as though Israel had "gone back to the saison days".
Avi Ben-Ayon, a contactor working at the site in Ariel from which supervisors bearing freeze orders took materials, told Ynet he had been building 24 housing units in the city.
Construction freeze in Judea and Samaria based on erroneous assumptions
"Those supervisors left us all with our jaws on the ground," he said, explaining that the construction plans had been approved months ago and that the units had already been sold. "Nobody told me about the freeze orders until the officers came to enforce them."
Ben-Ayon said he had argued that the orders did not apply to his site because the foundations had already been laid, but the officers told him they had pictures proving he had laid them very recently.
He said they asked him to stop drilling. "But that takes some time because you can't just leave open holes, so they took my equipment away," the contractor said. "I couldn't talk to them at all."
Mayor Nachman claims the orders take away the municipality's legal right to approve construction, transferring them to the Civil Administration.
"The orders take away our right to allow (construction) but leave us with the obligation to enforce them," he said. "If my power has been taken away, I don't mean to carry the obligation of responsibility."
He condemned the government for its decision to impose the freeze on Ariel. "There is no justification for doing this within the 1967 borders," Nachman said.
"They have turned us into a persecuted group with a population of 300,000 residents, and now together with Peace Now's spy patrols and the Civil Administrations supervisors I feel as though I have returned to the days when I saw my father, an Etzel man, persecuted by the Haganah," he added, referring to the time of the British mandate.
The Civil Administration responded that appeals to the actions of its supervisors are welcome. "The administration means to continue to enforce the orders thoroughly, in accordance to orders from the state," an IDF statement said.
Kobi Nahshoni contributed to this report