Report: Arab MK Lives in Illegally Built Home

A Bedouin walks in the Negev desert. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

A report in Yisrael Hayom says that Arab MK Jama Azbarga (United Arab List) lives in an illegally built home that by law should be demolished. The information came to light in an inspection of lots in the area of the Negev Bedouin village of Laqiya. The house was illegally built on state land, even though, according to the report, other land in the same village was apportioned by the state for the construction of a home for Azbarga and his family.

Laqiya is a legal Bedouin settlement, with organized distribution of lots to residents, and full municipal and state services for residents. It is, of course, subject to all zoning and land use laws that all other Israeli cities are subject to. According to the report, the matter has been known to authorities for some time, and they have been trying to negotiate with Azbarga – to no avail, as he refuses to vacate the illegally held land. Officials said that the legal lot was located just a few hundred meters from Azbarga’s current location.

Over the past week, officials again met with Azbarga, telling him that they would issue a demolition order if he did not come to terms with them on the illegally-built home. The state has opened several criminal cases against him, and the report quoted officials as saying that “action will be forthcoming.”

In response, Azbarga told Yisrael Hayom that his house was legal, “and it is built on private property that I own.” The State Authority for Building Supervision said that it had collected evidence on the matter, and had transferred it to the relevant legal authorities.

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