The Knesset approved in its preliminary reading Wednesday a bill stipulating that owners of illegal structures will be billed for their demolition. However the new law will not apply to residents of the West Bank.
A statement from the Knesset Legal Adviser says the bill can make this distinction because "Judea and Samaria are under the jurisdiction of the Defense Ministry and have regulations in other laws".
Illegal construction is one of Israel's most troubling issues. In 2004, the Zeiler committee found that authorities lacked the tools to sufficiently cull the phenomenon, and recommended more severe punishment.
MK Faina Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu), who proposed the bill, reasoned that much of the problem is caused by a lack of funding for demolitions. "This bill solves the problem at the expense of the transgressor and creates budget justice," she wrote in her explanation.
"For years the government and authorities have been trying to fight illegal construction without success, due to the fact that few tools have been placed at their disposal. It's time to fight this problem and the indifference to it, and give the state operative tools," Kirshenbaum explains.
"The illegal building phenomenon has become a state plague, and the only way of fighting it is to increase punishment and deterrence."
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