Photo Credit: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion, August 8, 2019.

As Israelis are fighting among themselves over applying Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, an Arab “construction race” has been launched in areas intended for Israeli sovereignty inside Area C, according to a new petition filed by Regavim with the Jerusalem District Court.

The petition focuses on Kfar Nahlin, near Rosh Tzurim in Gush Etzion. Since the Trump Declaration this past January 28, the village has begun an intensive construction race to seize additional land erect new buildings as well as extensive infrastructure work.

Illegal Arab expansion across the Gush Etzion boundaries in Kfar Nahlin. / Regavim
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The residents of Kfar Nahlin, located in Area B and bounded by a natural river channel, a few months ago began to seize land outside the village – in Area C, which, according to the Oslo agreements, is under the full authority of the State of Israel. However, it appears that the Trump administration’s reported insistence that a hefty portion of Area C remain empty of new Israeli construction, the Arabs have been racing to fill up the gap: so far, according to Regavim, as many as 20 villas, homes and permanent buildings have been built there expeditiously in recent weeks.

Regavim contacted the Civil Administration near the beginning of the work, demanding the use of a “New Buildings Removal Order” signed by the Central Command’s commander some two years ago, which is an effective enforcement tool against illegal construction, and had been approved by the High Court of Justice, which last year rejected several petitions contesting the validity of said order.

In light of the fact that Arab illegal construction on the site continued uninterrupted, the Regavim movement petitioned the Jerusalem District Court against the Ministry of Defense and the Civil Administration, demanding that the law be effectively enforced to prevent continued illegal activity.

Meir Deutsch, CEO of the Regavim Movement, said in a statement: “While our state leaders are quarreling over whether and how to apply sovereignty, the Palestinian Authority is already establishing facts on the ground. If we don’t wake up, in a few years we will find ourselves facing tangible facts that cannot be changed, with all the security and policy consequences this would entail.”

Shlomo Ne’eman, head of Gush Etzion’s council, said in a statement: “There is a real storm taking place here. We have been warning at the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic that the Palestinian Authority is taking hostile control of state land. Now that sovereignty is approaching, the Arab race to plunder land throughout Gush Etzion continues with renewed energy. It is inconceivable that the state is not stopping this construction.”

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