Photo Credit: Regavim via Channel 20 screengrab
Map of illegal Arab construction next to northern Efrat

The nascent State of Palestine is being built right next door to the Jewish community of Efrat in Gush Etzion, say residents of the Jewish town, who report illegal Arab construction is crowding the northern neighborhoods of Efrat, and threatening the safety of motorists on the northern Efrat road leading to their homes.

Efrat residents say they have raised the issue with their municipality, and the complaints they filed with authorities have gone unanswered – and so they are taking legal action, along with starting a grassroots campaign to support a battle against the illegal construction right next door.

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New, palatial homes are springing up only a few meters away from the northern neighborhoods of Efrat on land under full Israeli jurisdiction, in Area C, the Regavim advocacy group said in a release Thursday evening.

“We all know how difficult it is to obtain a building permit in Efrat,” said Meir Deutsch, Director-General of Regavim and a resident of Efrat, “but the illegal building spree that is going on only 50 meters from the homes of the Dagan and Tamar neighborhoods hasn’t elicited any response at all.”

“A group of Efrat residents has decided that they’ve waited long enough for their elected officials to put a stop to the illegal expansion of Bethlehem into Area C – right outside their windows – and are organizing a grassroots legal campaign.”

Attorney Michael Sperber has issued preliminary letters before filing a lawsuit aimed at forcing the authorities to act against the obvious Palestinian Authority-orchestrated takeover of land in Gush Etzion.

Deutsch issued an invitation encouraging “anyone who wants to see how the State of Palestine is being built right now, today, right on our doorstep” to join a fact-finding tour that will set out from the Dagan Synagogue in Efrat at 10 am Friday March 15.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.