Convicted terrorist built illegal structures funded by EU

Rizq Salah, who murdered an IDF soldier in 1990, erected illegal structures in Gush Etzion bearing the EU logo.


The European Union has funded illegal structures in Gush Etzion built by a convicted terrorist, the pro-Israel watchdog group Im Tirtzu revealed Wednesday.

Rizq Salah, who in 1990 murdered IDF soldier Guy Friedman, was released by Israel in 2013 as part of a US-mediated initiative to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In 2019, Ynet reported that Salah was given permission by Israel’s Civil Administration to cultivate land in Gush Etzion near the Israeli community of Netiv Ha’avot.

Im Tirtzu’s Arab Desk has now revealed that Salah erected illegal structures that bear the logo of the European Union. The structures also bear the logos of Oxfam and the Rural Women’s Development Society.

Im Tirtzu said that representatives from the IDF’s Civil Administration acknowledged that the structures built by Salah were indeed illegal and needed to be demolished.

The European Union has repeatedly been implicated in the funding of illegal Palestinian construction in Area C of Judea and Samaria, which critics view as a means to establish a de facto Palestinian state.

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg blasted the EU and called on the Civil Administration to immediately demolish the illegal structures.

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“This is yet another instance in which the European Union is using the hard-earned taxes of its citizens in order to harm Israel’s security,” said Peleg.

“The EU needs to end its sick obsession with the Jewish state and stop funding anti-Israel projects and NGOs. Israel is not a punching bag for the EU to take out its anti-Semitic aggression on.”

“We call on the Civil Administration to immediately demolish these structures and put an end to the rampant illegal construction in Area C.”

In January 2020, while serving as defense minister, Naftali Bennet announced he had launched a campaign to reclaim Israel’s control of Area C and demolish illegal Arab construction, even if it was funded by the EU.

In response to an inquiry on the issue by TPS, a senior official in the Defense Ministry stated that the “phenomenon of illegal Palestinian construction in Area C is one of the main issues that Defense Minister Bennett is dealing with, and he has already begun to work to eradicate the phenomenon.”

The official added that “a number of discussions took place on the subject and Bennett is monitoring the progress in person.”

At his meeting with EU ambassadors last week, Bennet told the ambassadors that “illegal construction in their financing would be destroyed by Israel” and made it clear that “his position on the issue was unequivocal.”

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He has since failed to act on his declarations.