Outgoing Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen: Government must do something about the Palestinian attempt to create a state by establishing facts on the ground.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
A government-backed report has been published for the first time detailing Palestinian Authority (PA) land grabs in all of Judea and Samaria that endanger Israeli sovereignty and security, Hebrew media reported.
The Intelligence Ministry report contains topographical maps showing dozens of illegally built new roads and thousands of buildings throughout Areas A and B, the latter of which is under Israeli military control, as well as Area C, which is ostensibly under full Israeli military and civilian control. The purpose of the massive Palestinian construction, it said, was to create “territorial continuity between all parts of Judea and Samaria and between them and East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.”
“The Palestinian Authority is working methodically and deliberately, with the aid of foreign funding, to advance completely illegal construction in an unchecked fashion in Area C with the goal of creating contiguity between Areas A, B and C to lay the foundation for the establishment of a Palestinian state,” said Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen, who commissioned the report after seeing the illegal construction efforts in the field.
“I conveyed to the cabinet clear recommendations of the Ministry of Intelligence to deal with this ticking bomb, which could endanger Israel’s security. We must deepen the Israeli hold on the ground through construction, development and Jewish settlement.”
The report described in detail how certain Jewish villages are being endangered by slowly being surrounded, and it documents extensive construction in open areas close to major traffic arteries, near no existing Arab center.
This activity is eroding the security value of the separation fence in the center of the country as well as the Jerusalem envelope, the report said. It also warned of electrical infrastructure and roads being dug into a huge plot of land above the village of Ofra in Samaria, with the apparent goal of building a completely new, illegal Palestinian town.
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman was pleased that a “comprehensive and serious report” had finally been produced, considering that he and his colleagues had been warning of the danger of the Palestinian effort for a very long time.
“For years now, we in the YESHA Council have been voicing the cry of the land that is being occupied and stolen by the enemy day after day,” Ne’eman told Channel 20 on Friday. “The result is the doubling within a decade of the entire built-up area of the Palestinian Authority and the actual transformation of Israeli settlements into enclaves.
“This report proves unequivocally that this is a real war for the future of Judea and Samaria. The Israeli government must understand that this is not an internal Israeli dispute that can go on forever, and put this issue at the top of its list of priorities, as a national mission.”
The report did not stop at the danger to Israel’s control of its heartland. According to the Intelligence Ministry, the PA is also openly working “to create conditions for a future connection between the Palestinian state and areas with an Arab majority within the State of Israel (Lower + Upper Galilee) and the Bedouin settlements in the Negev.”