Photo Credit: Courtesy Gush Etzion Regional Council via Regavim
Israeli team demolishing illegal Arab compound near Gush Etzion

After a 15-year legal saga that included numerous petitions to the High Court of Justice, on Monday morning Israeli security forces cleared an illegal takeover by Arabs from Bethlehem at a Jewish owned private land in Gush Etzion in Judea, Regavim reported.

The land was acquired by the Heimanuta company, a JNF subsidiary, in 1969, in a strategic plot of land connecting Gush Etzion to Jerusalem. Many plots of land were purchased by the JNF in the same area, both before the establishment of the State of Israel and after the Six Day War.

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Recent years have seen a massive Arab takeover of these lands, with the aim of severing the natural corridor between Gush Etzion and Jerusalem.

The Arab Kisia family took over the area in question in 2005, and illegally built on it homes, a farm, a garden and a restaurant. In the past, the Civil Administration demolished some of the buildings on the site, but the invaders rebuilt them time and again.

In a recent ruling on a petition filed by the offenders against the move to enforce the law against them, the high court judges wrote: “The petition is denied, due to the unwholesomeness of the petitioners. We are dealing with an illegally erected building, without a building permit, on privately owned land, while the petitioners violated the orders issued in their case. This is a conspicuous and obvious unwholesomeness, and under these circumstances, the petition cannot be accepted.”

A source in the Gush Etzion council stated in response: “We support the judicial system and the civil administration that rejected the petitions and implemented the enforcement, but at the same time, we are aware that this is a drop in the bucket. We expect all of these systems to deal harshly with all the invasions and plundering of land that continue uninterrupted by local Arabs under the auspices of the PA and with lubrication by European funding.”

According to Regavim, to date, only about 30% of Judea and Samaria lands have been registered and regulated. This reality is fertile ground for fakery, illegal construction and land grabbing, all of which play into the hands of the Palestinian Authority, which promotes its own real estate registration system without interruption, including on land that is in Israeli-controlled areas, where the PA has no legal authority.

“In this case, 15 years have passed from the invasion to the final verdict,” Regavim said in a statement Monday. “This is a clear example of Israel’s burning need to complete land registration in Judea and Samaria – a first and crucial step in curbing the massive takeover by Palestinians of lands in Judea and Samaria.”

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