Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been accused of secretly reaching a decision to stand aside while illegal U.N. construction goes forward in Yerushalayim’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, according to Arutz Sheva on Tuesday.
The U.N. construction, conducted without municipal permits, has been under legal challenge by the Regavim organization, which on Tuesday filed an appeal to a previous court ruling allowing the construction.
In response to the petition, the state acknowledged that the work was illegal, but that the international body enjoys diplomatic immunity which protects it from Israeli intervention in the case.
Last month, the District Court rejected a Regavim request for an interim injunction to halt the work on the grounds that two Israeli companies hired by the U.N. — the Avner Gilad construction company and the planning company Ronen — have no such immunity.
Last Thursday, Netanyahu reportedly held a secret meeting with Minister Miri Regev and Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, the head of the National Security Council, Attorney General Mandelblit and the Director General of the Foreign Ministry, aimed at deciding the government’s response to Regavim’s challenge.
Despite standing agreements, a representative from Jewish Home party, sympathetic to Regavim, was not invited to the discussion, at which they decided to request a postponement for the state’s response for several weeks.
At Regavim, they believe the dilatory action is intended to give the U.N time to finish the building program, rendering it a fait accompli that will be hard to reverse.
“This conduct adds insult to injury. Not only did the state not initially act against the work’s implementing the prohibited historic structure renovation; the Prime Minister now decided to effectively dissolve the legal process, and in practice to authorize the U.N. to do whatever it pleases, illegally,” Regavim said in a statement.