The Regavim movement on Tuesday petitioned the High Court of Justice following a new smuggling route that the Palestinian Authority recently paved inside an IDF training area in the Hebron Hills.
The illegal route, about three-mile long, is located entirely on state land, and allows a relatively comfortable ride for private cars. The cost of its construction is estimated at more than $850,000.
As unbelievable as it may sound, the PA bulldozers worked for several weeks on IDF managed land without any sign of law enforcement on the part of the Civil Administration, which is charged with enforcing the law in Judea and Samaria. In fact, the Civil Administration ignored repeated warnings from Regavim, according to the petition.
Firing zone 918, which covers some 7,400 acres, is connected to firing zone 522 in the Arad Valley without any security fence or other obstacle, which is why the new road became a bonanza for smugglers on both sides of the Green Line, transporting contraband goods from the Arad area to the southern Hebron hills, without any security checks. (See Israel Captures Supporters of Sarona Mall Terrorists.)
“For quite a few years, the Palestinian Authority has taken massive control of the IDF’s firing zones in the southern Hebron hills, and the EU is deeply involved in the illegal activity on the grounds, under the guise of humanitarian aid,” said Oved Arad, the director of the Regavim movement in Judea and Samaria. “The smuggling route connecting the Negev and Samaria passes through the firing zones from south to north, connecting the smuggling axis to the town of Yatta in [Palestinian Authority controlled] Area A.”
According to Arad, “The immediate significance of the new route is an increase in the amount of smuggling, including weapons, prostitution, illegal aliens, and the export of Palestinian women to the Bedouin population for polygamous marriages.”
“The Palestinian Authority is conducting a quiet and efficient battle to establish facts on the ground, and every day we discover a new house, a paved road or a new antenna built by the PA with the support of European organizations and with the aim of taking additional bites out of state land,” said Yohai Damari, head of the Hebron Regional Council.
“The High Court of Justice ahs most recently ruled that the state must formulate a policy against the illegal wave of Arab construction. Unfortunately, the state is dragging its feet and showing weakness in everything related to the preservation of its lands. Its control over the Judaean Desert is already eroding, and every day more and more residents of Yatta establish their homes there,” Damari said, adding, “This is a wake-up call before the point of no return.”