Report: Bureaucracy Holding Up Construction in Yehuda and Shomron

YERUSHALAYIM -
General view of construction in the Shomron settlement of Ariel. (Flash 90.)

Over the past year, the government has authorized the construction of thousands of housing units in Yehuda and Shomron – meriting sharp criticism from the left and from foreign governments. But a report in Yisrael Hayom Friday showed that despite the authorizations for marketing and construction, almost no new homes have been marketed in the region in 2017. According to the report, the holdup is at the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), which has numerous times postponed the tenders for contractors to bid on building the projects.

Many of the authorizations for projects are nearly a year old, issued in the wake of the evacuation of the Amona outpost last February. Previous to that, several thousand other homes were authorized for construction. As of December, permits have been given for the construction of over 6,000 homes in Yehudah and Shomron.

The story came to the attention of the newspaper in the wake of complaints by contractors who are anxious to build, but have been stymied by the ILA. Demand for housing in Yehudah and Shomron is at an all-time high, as many Israeli families from the center of the country prefer the less-crowded and community-focused conditions in the region, and children of veteran residents seek places to live near friends and family. Many of the homes were re-authorized during the course of the year, passing through various planning communities, but the actual construction tenders themselves have yet to be issued.

Commenting on the situation, community leaders in Yehudah and Shomron told the newspaper that they had been told numerous times by contractors, who hoped they could help push the tenders through. “Unfortunately we are still waiting. We are disappointed that the Prime Minister has not gotten involved in this matter. We expect him to order those who are responsible to publish the tenders.” The Yesha Council said that “the number of homes authorized for construction in 2017 was absurdly low. We cannot accept a situation where such an important matter is stuck at the bureaucratic level. We demand that the government offices do everything necessary to allow contractors to begin marketing the homes.”

In response to the report, the Prime Minister’s Office said that it was aware of the situation, and had received assurances from the ILA that the tenders would be published at the beginning of 2018.