Palestinian Authority-controlled Shechem is allocating 300 tractors to plow and claim land in 25 locations near Jewish communities in Samaria, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency.
Shechem governor Jibreel al-Bakri said that helping Arab farmers to cultivate the land is an unprecedented action. The PA will provide farmers with fuel for their tractors.
The lands include areas the Israeli Defense Forces has declared to be closed military zones, al-Bakri added. “We decided to reach these lands…without any exceptions” and every acre will be plowed, he added.
The Palestinian Authority in the past decade has taken over thousands of acres of land that is not under any private ownership but which Israel has in effect surrendered by not acting against Arab and international leftist groups who routinely take over farmland that either lay fallow or had been farmed by Jews.
The “benign neglect” policy of Israel has allowed the Palestinian Authority, funded in large part by the European Union, to become a dominant presence in areas of Jewish settlement.
European funds are used to pay Arabs to live in new and unregulated communities, many of which begin with only one house and quickly expand into an entire neighborhood.
The new Palestinian Authority effort continues a trend blocking against any pioneering efforts by Jews in Judea and Samaria.