Video: Kedumim Residents Say 'Our Blockage Delayed Inspectors'

Dozens of Kiryat Arba, Karnei Shomron and other Yesha residents clashed with newly appointed building inspectors coming to enforce the freeze.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 13:43

Defense Minister Barak in Yesha
Defense Minister Barak in Yesha
Israel news photo: Defense Ministry

Dozens of Kiryat Arba, Karnei Shomron, Revavah and Shavei Shomron residents clashed with newly appointed building inspectors coming to enforce the freeze on Tuesday.

In Kiryat Arba, dozens of residents, accompanied by Mayor Malachi Levinger, blocked the road and briefly prevented the inspectors from entering the town. Eyewitnesses reported that the inspectors attempted to stop work on buildings that had begun several months ago and tried to confiscate equipment. After a while, the inspectors gave up and left, and the workers continued working.

Local resident Itamar Ben-Gvir said afterwards, “We hope that what happened here will serve as a precedent and example to everyone in Judea and Samaria. This is the way to act towards inspectors who come to enforce racist decrees. Let’s see them enforce such measures in Um el-Fahm.”

Similar incidents were recorded in Karnei Shomron, Shavei Shomron and Revavah – all in the central Samaria region. The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) reported that when the “inspectors came to deliver their inhumane orders from the Netanyahu government, within minutes a very large group of angry residents gathered to demand that they leave immediately – and they did.”

In Har Gilo, in northern Gush Etzion, residents, including Gush Etzion Regional Council head Sha’ul Goldstein, gathered at the entrance in tense preparation for the arrival of inspectors.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak promised that the law would be enforced. It was reported that Border Guard police would be sent to accompany and protect inspectors.

In the Megilot Regional Council in the Dead Sea area, populated by a more left-wing population than standard Yesha towns, the construction freeze orders were received with shock. “We always stayed away from the Yesha Council,” council head Motzi Dehman told the Hebrew website NRG, “and now all of a sudden we’re criminals? ... We’ve been here 42 years, everything here is legal, and you can’t just freeze life. ... We have been keeping the law and we also guard the eastern border of Israel. ... Until now we’ve been the salt of the earth, and in one night we're just like the settlers?”

The Yesha Council has called upon residents to report any indications that inspectors are on their way to a Jewish town, and to prevent – without violence – their entry. Council representatives met with Housing Minister Ariel Attias on Monday and told him that construction would continue, regardless of the orders.

In the hareidi city of Beitar Illit, however, this might not be the case. A session of the town’s Planning and Construction Committee scheduled for today was suddenly canceled because of the freeze, and it has been reported that even ongoing construction of porches and add-ons to existing apartments will not be permitted.

The Shomron Residents Committee stated, “The nation will not allow these racist and illegitimate decrees to be implemented.” 

On Monday, however, the inspectors distributed some 50 stop-work orders throughout Judea and Samaria, and confiscated four tractors. Among the towns in which such activities took place were Beit El, Efrat, Tekoa, Ofrah, Maaleh Adumim, Nili, Beitar Illit, Kiryat Sefer (Modiin Illit), Elkanah, Ariel, Michmash and Rimonim.