In an attempt to ape right-wing MKs committed to building up the land of Israel and ensuring the rights of Jews to live in all parts of it, several Arab MKs, accompanied by a group of Jewish leftists, will visit an illegal Arab outpost in the southern Hevron Hills, hoping to lift their morale while they battle to keep the outpost in place. Among those visiting will be MKs Afu Agbariyah and Dov Hanin, along with Arik Asherman of Rabbis for Human Rights.
The outpost, which is far larger than Jewish settlement points that are usually dubbed with that title, contains dozens of structures. The government last week issued 52 demolition orders against the outpost. Many of the structures have solar panels installed, donated by an organization that distributes solar panels, generators, and other equipment to Arabs in Judea and Samaria for free. Residents have several weeks to appeal.
The outpost is one of hundreds set up by Arabs from PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, and by Bedouin Arabs in the Negev. The Arabs do not seek permits, and set up whole towns, which in some cases have grown to be small cities. The outposts are built on state land, often on land used by the IDF for training, and as a result the army is forced to adjust its exercises, jeopardizing the security of Israelis. In addition, the outposts are not hooked up to sewage systems, and raw Arab sewage is often dumped in environmentally sensitive areas, ruining the ecology of many areas. In many cases, the Arabs refuse to request permits for their outposts, refusing to recognize the authority of the state, and avoiding paying for development and infrastructure costs. In the past, the Israeli taxpayer has been forced to foot the bill for the infrastructure that was installed in several outposts, after they got too large to dismantle, and caused a major negative impact on the environment.
Among those joining the Arab MKs were representatives of the “Rabbis for Human Rights” group, which has filed a petition with the High Court against the demolitions. The Regavim organization, which works to prevent the flood of illegal Arab outposts, has filed a petition with the court on the matter as well.
As an illegal outpost, the Arab settlement does not have a development plan, a fact that is likely to make arranging for a postponement or cancellation of the demolition more difficult. As a result, groups helping the residents are working on a plan which they plan to file with the relevant authorities, in the hope of retroactively legalizing the site.