The heads of all the Arab municipalities have agreed not to build additional homes without a permit in exchange for the state`s commitment to freeze the razing of existing illegal homes, until the matter is settled, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) informed the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Wednesday.

”There are currently some 50,000 illegal homes in the Arab sector, some with demolition orders. We are working to regulate the issue,” Deri said while briefing the committee on his ministry`s activity, adding that the budgets of all Arab municipalities were being increased.

After Deri noted that only a ”very small” fraction of the 50,000 illegal homes in the Arab sector are destroyed, MK Talab Abu Arar (Joint List) said ”1,000 homes is a small amount?” Deri replied: ”These are not homes. In the Negev we are talking about sheds and agricultural facilities.”

Interior Minister Deri: Heads of Arab municipalities agreed to stop illegal construction of homes in exchange for razing moratorium

Minister Aryeh Deri (Photo: Itzik Harari)

MK David Bitan (Likud) addressed the promise by the heads of Arab municipalities not to build illegally and said, ”They cannot commit to this. On behalf of whom? And what if construction does take place? So what? It is a futile commitment. I am not in favor of razing.”

Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) said ”In the framework of the Arrangements Law we have regulated all of the outline plans for the Arab sector. All past [construction] offenses have been authorized on condition that, from now on, every construction offense will be dealt with.”

Abu Arar said ”I have no doubt that Minister Deri plans to help the Arab sector. We have a shortage of homes for young couples. What is the solution for a young couple that lives in a shed? Some 90,000 people live in sheds. These are our homes. I suggested allowing a young couple to build a temporary home adjacent to the existing one.”

MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) told Deri, ”You promised not to summon people with families and graduates of youth villages to the Holot [detention] facility, but they are summoned and incarcerated there. Graduates of youth villages want to enlist in the army. The Defense Ministry agrees to this, but the Interior Ministry objects. This is foolish and unjust.” Deri said in response that people with families are not imprisoned in the Holot facility.