According to Israeli law, the public must be informed of plans to build construction projects in cities throughout Israel, including in Yehudah and Shomron (the Yesha region) – and that generally entails placing ads in newspapers announcing the projects, to allow citizens to voice objections. The ads are placed in a variety of daily and weekly newspapers – until now, including Arabic-language newspapers.
That policy has now been changed, thanks to a decision by senior military staff in the IDF’s Central Command. At a meeting chaired by Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan, it was decided that the ads would no longer be posted in Arabic-language newspapers. In a statement, Ben-Dahan said that with the decision, “we are removing the means that allow Palestinians to block construction” in Yehudah and Shomron.
The custom of placing ads in Arabic-language newspapers is a holdover from when Yehudah and Shomron was occupied by Jordanian forces between 1949 and 1967. In recent years, the custom has enabled Arabs and leftists to quickly move against Israeli construction in Yehudah and Shomron, preventing construction even before ground is broken on projects. Instead of advertising in newspapers, the new rules will allow the Civil Authority to advertise projects online.
According to Ben-Dahan, the use of ads in newspapers “has been one of the tactics that allowed Arabs to interfere with construction in Yehudah and Shomron. This will no longer be the case. Instead, we will be advertising projects in Hebrew-language sites. Thus we will remove a major blockade on construction in Yehudah and Shomron.”