August 07 2007; 01:08PM
Building Bridges: Peace Now caused Heftsiba's downfall?!
Posted by Yariv Oppenheimer
"The cause of the real crisis is the struggle of Peace Now against us with the support of the courts. Hundreds of completed apartments will not be handed over due to the argument that the land they were built on was purchased illegally." This is how businessman Mordechai Yonah, president of the Heftsiba Group, justified the reasons for the collapse of the company.
It is difficult to know if in fact this collapse was a consequence of the alleged illegal construction Heftsiba conducted in the settlement of Modi'in-Ilit, however, there is no doubt that the heavy price is being paid by thousands of innocent people who have been left with no money and no place to live.
As part of the socio-political stance that beyond the Green Line there is no one to answer to, the Heftsiba Group and other real estate companies started building the Matityahu-East neighborhood in Modi'in-Ilit, in 2004.
After petitions were filed, the High Court of Justice received the complaints of Kfar Bili'in citizens and the Peace Now movement and issued an order to halt all activities related to the project.
We can assume that no company including Heftsiba would have employed such tactics and tricks and allegedly built thousands of apartments illegally, were the project undertaken within Israel's borders. But where territories of the West Bank are concerned, laws are breached, law enforcement is almost non-existent and there seems to be no difficulty in exploiting the Palestinians' weakness to steal their private lands.
It comes as no surprise that a company like Heftsiba, which did not hesitate to allegedly break the law and cheat the residents of Kfar Bili'in, would cheat its own clients who were left with nothing at the end of the day.
The issue of the Matityahu-East neighborhood in Modi'in-Ilit should serve as a warning to any political or commercial body that seeks to treat the territories as his own, and to ignore the law. Right now, we can only hope that the criminal investigation opened in this case will bring those responsible for this outrageous behavior to justice and that legal proceedings against those involved in the event will be fruitful. Their reckless and vulgar behavior has affected hundreds of innocent families who bought apartments in Matityahu-East and they should be held accountable.
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