The Cabinet today (Sunday), 12.12.04, approved Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s proposal to establish an inter-ministerial authority to deal with the enforcement of land laws including: unauthorized construction, invasion of public lands and unauthorized excavating and digging.  The authority’s goal is to minimize phenomena of construction offenses that severely harm the environment, reserves of public lands, the state treasury and the rule of law.

Prime Minister Sharon directed the relevant bodies to act as quickly as possible so as to enable the authority to begin operating by early 2005.

The authority will be operated by the Public Security Ministry and will be chaired by a senior Israel Police officer whose duty will be to coordinate between the various professional bodies.  In this context, a police unit will be established to assist in the enforcement of land laws.  The unit’s police officers will be accompanied by inspectors from the various bodies affiliated with the authority during enforcement actions, the implementation of administrative and judicial orders, and patrols.

At the same time, a unit will be established in the State Prosecutor’s Office to deal with the enforcement of land laws, in coordination with guidelines from the Attorney General.  This legal department will issue indictments, oversee legal proceedings, deal with criminal enforcement, authorize outside prosecutors in the various local councils and planning authorities, and will consider the need for legislative changes.

In addition to the ongoing land enforcement activities of the Israel Lands Administration and the Interior Ministry, special task forces will be established within the plan.

The enforcement authority will coordinate a geographic data bank that will assist in mapping and monitoring land law violations.  The authority chairman will submit detailed quarterly reports on the scope of violations on the ground, including actions carried out by the authority.

A team chaired by the Public Security Ministry Director-General – and with the participation of representatives from the Prime Minister’s office, the Interior Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Construction and Housing Ministry and the Israel Lands Administration – will determine the authority’s working procedures, including: a detailed working plan, priorities, timetables and schedules.  The team will monitor the implementation of the plan.

The Cabinet will – one year after the authority begins work – examine the authority’s efficiency and decide on the future of its operations.