Thousands march across Judea and Samaria against Palestinian takeover of land

Some 2,000 participants warn that Israel is quietly “losing the war” over Area C.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Some 2,000 people protested in over a dozen marches across Judea and Samaria Monday against the government’s quiet acquiescence to the illegal Palestinian takeover of state lands in the region, Hebrew-language media reports.

The mostly national-religious participants walked with Israeli flags in 14 locations, including the Hebron hills, Gush Etzion near Jerusalem, and the Shiloh bloc in western Binyamin.

“The future of our state and its borders are resting on our shoulders, and we won’t abandon this front under any circumstance,” said Binyamin Regional Council head Yisrael Ganz at one of the marches.

“This is a war we are losing on a daily basis,” he said. “The Palestinian Authority is conquering state lands within our heartland in an organized fashion. They are creating buffer zones and taking over strategic areas unhindered.”

Ganz’s charges are backed up by a report published some two weeks ago by the previous government detailing massive PA land grabs both in areas under their control and in the parts of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley that are known collectively as Area C, which is ostensibly under full Israeli civilian and military control.

About 100 people marched toward the fledgling Evyatar community in Samaria, which the IDF is determined to tear down by the end of the month. The army says it was built illegally and “undermined security stability in the area.”

The residents, who will appeal to the Supreme Court against eviction, have maps they say prove the land is state-owned. Furthermore, the law against illegal building is being selectively enforced against them, they argue.

According to their lawyers, there are over 10 times more illegal Palestinian outposts than Israeli ones in Area C (800 versus 74), and while 15 demarcation orders have been issued against Jewish communities to date, only two – which were then canceled – have been brought against Palestinian communities.

Palestinians protested against the walks in several places in Samaria. Near Avigayil, in the South Hebron hills, left-wing activists and anarchists joined the Palestinian demonstration that took place very close to the march leaving from the Israeli community. The IDF and police separated the two groups before any blows were exchanged.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has long called for Israeli sovereignty to be applied to Area C. It contains the vast majority of the Jewish settlements over the so-called Green Line, and only four percent of the Palestinian population, whom Bennett envisioned as becoming full Israeli citizens if they so desire.