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Daily Israel Report

Ya'alon Offers Deal to Demolish Teens' Memorial Community

Ya'alon offers perks to get Gush Etzion council to dismantle community built in memory of three murdered teens.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 8/17/2014, 6:00 PM

Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe Ya'alon
Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon has presented an agreement to the Gush Etzion Regional Council in Judea over a new community in the area dedicated to the memory of the three murdered teens Eyal Yifrah (19), Naftali Frenkel (16) and Gilad Sha'ar (16) hy''d.

Tekoa Heh, a community of five families living in caravans, was established on July 4, shortly after the bodies of the three teens abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists were found. The community has led to an ongoing court battle, despite being on state land not under Arab claims of ownership.

If the agreement presented by Ya'alon is accepted, the Gush Etzion council which founded the new community would agree to dismantle it and have the families leave their homes, reports Haaretz on Sunday.

In response, Ya'alon promised to advance the process of granting legalization to Tekoa Dalet, a nearby neighborhood founded in 2011 that houses 21 families. Additionally, the construction of 24 housing units has already been authorized in the south of Tekoa, and an agricultural farm would be built in place of Tekoa Heh.

Ya'alon ordered Tekoa Heh to be destroyed on July 31, to which residents submitted a petition to the Supreme Court arguing they were on building state land attached to Tekoa, a petition which succedded in postponing the destruction for two weeks.

During that time, a Subcommittee of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that deals with Judea and Samaria, headed by MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home), was convened to discuss the demolition orders. Concluding the meeting, Yogev argued against the orders, calling instead for the illegally built homes of Hamas terrorists in Judea and Samaria to be ripped down.

Yogev noted that during Operation Brother's Keeper, which aimed to rescue the three teens and harm Hamas's terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, the mission to destroy the homes of terrorists in the region "still hasn't been conducted (to completion) by the IDF Central Command and the Civilian Authority in Judea and Samaria."

Over the course of the two week postponement of demolition, Ya'alon and the Gush Etzion council have been in intense discussions, which eventually led to the newly released agreement proposal.