Report: Israeli Contractor Building Road for Illegal PA Quarry

YERUSHALAYIM -
A view of Highway 60, backdropped by the village of Beit Jala and Mount Gilo. (Flash 90)
A view of Highway 60, back-dropped by the village of Beit Jala, Beit Fajjar and Mount Gilo. (Flash90)

An employee of the state-owned Israel Roads Corporation (Ma’atz), responsible for road construction and management, has been using company equipment as a private contractor to pave an unapproved road for an illegal Palestinian Authority business. The story, first published by the 0404 news site, was uncovered by the Regavim organization, which attempts to prevent illegal Arab building.

The road in question is an access road to the Beit Fajjar quarry – an Arab-run enterprise on state land that does not have a license, and that the government has tried several times to close down. According to the report, the contractor took excess materials from another road that was being built in the area and used company equipment to lay the materials down and pave the road, pocketing the profits.

Regavim informed Transport Minister Yisrael Katz of the matter last week, along with the heads of Ma’atz. “The paving of this road, beyond being a clear violation of the law, hampers state efforts to close down this quarry,” the letter said. “With the road, the proprietors of this illegal operation will have an easier time transporting the material they illegally quarry, meaning that the scope of their crimes is likely to grow.” The letter demands an immediate halt to the construction and demolition of whatever portions have already been built.

In response to queries by reporters, the Israel Roads Corporation said that the materials in question belonged to the private contractor the Corporation had contracted with to build the legal road between Meitzad and Pnei Kedem. We have no way of controlling what he does with this material. Any illegal activity by the contractor should be addressed by the relevant legal authorities. The Corporation has no jurisdiction in this matter.”