Palestinian Authority in ‘construction race’ to lay claim to Judea and Samaria

After the announcement of the Trump plan the creeping encroachment turned into a tidal wave of land seizure.

By World Israel News Staff

Against the backdrop of the debate surrounding application of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has launched a ‘construction race’ targeting areas slated for Israeli sovereignty, according to a petition recently filed by Regavim in the Jerusalem District Court.

Regavim’s petition focuses on Kfar Nahlin, near Rosh Tzurim in Gush Etzion. Since the roll-out of President Trump’s “Vision for Peace to Prosperity,” an intensive PA effort has been underway to create facts on the ground through illegal construction on Israeli state land adjacent to the village. Recent projects include construction of new buildings and extensive infrastructure work.

Nahlin, located in Area B, under PA jurisdiction, is bounded by a natural river channel.

Several months ago, construction and infrastructure projects crept beyond the boundaries of the village into the area designated as Area C, under full authority of the State of Israel. After the announcement of the Trump plan the creeping encroachment turned into a tidal wave of land seizure.

The prospect of the plan’s approval in set off a one-sided race in the area, as the PA pulled out all the stops to create facts on the ground that would make the Trump plan a non-starter. Construction of some 20 new villas, smaller homes and other permanent structures has been expedited in recent weeks.

Regavim alerted the Civil Administration when construction first began, demanding the implementation of the “New Structure Removal Order” signed by the Commander of Central Command two years ago. This military legislation is an effective enforcement tool against illegal construction which was upheld by Israel’s High Court of Justice when it was challenged in a number of petitions last year.

When construction on the site continued unhindered, Regavim petitioned the Jerusalem District Court against the Ministry of Defense and the Civil Administration, demanding effective law enforcement against the existing structures and preventive measures to head off any further illegal land-grabs at the site.

Meir Deutsch, CEO of Regavim said, “While our heads of state are debating whether and how sovereignty will be applied, the Palestinian Authority is hard at work, establishing facts on the ground. If we don’t wake up, in a few years we will find ourselves faced with an unchangeable reality – and the security and policy ramifications that come with it.”

Shlomo Ne’eman, head of Gush Etzion’s Regional Council, added: “There is a storm raging in this region. From the beginning of the corona epidemic we have been sounding the alarm against the Palestinian Authority’s hostile takeover of state land. Now that sovereignty is approaching, the Arab race to plunder land throughout Gush Etzion has accelerated. It is inconceivable that the State of Israel has not put a stop to this illegal activity.”