Bedouin Town to Change Status Quo in Samaria?

ICA's plans to build Bedouin town near Jericho on Jewish areas of Judea-Samaria 'steal state lands,' Regional Council head fumes.

Benny Toker, Tova Dvorin,

David Elhayani
David Elhayani
Flash 90

Chairman of the Jordan Valley Regional Council David Elhayani slammed the Civil Administration Sunday, attributing an agenda to the government office for promoting Bedouin building on Jewish land in Judea and Samaria. 

"The Civil Administration promotes this plan on its own initiative, and it will affect our future," Elhayani warned, in a special interview with Arutz Sheva. "I spoke with a number of ministers and the Secretary of the Cabinet, and no one seems to know about this plan; this is outrageous and cannot be explained."

Elhayani stated that the new town, dubbed "Tlat Nu'ima," is due to be built north of Yeriho (Jericho) in Samaria - and be populated mostly by Bedouin east of Jerusalem. 

The land is in Jewish areas of Judea and Samaria, however, and - according to Elhayani - serves to expand the cultural influence of the Palestinian Authority deeper into Israeli territory. 

"How is it possible that the political echelon did not know about this?" he fumed. "They are trying to steal state lands here and determine that [this area], in fact, will be in a future Palestinian state."

"The town is linked closely to Jericho, which is in [PA-controlled] area A," he added. "The intention here is clear and unambiguous." 

Leadership in the Civil Administration's hands will lead to the next political disaster, he said. 

"At first they prevent the eviction of outlaws who took over land in Judea and Samaria, who came here from lawless Nablus [Shechem] and Hevron, and instead welcomed them - allowing them to put up homes," Elhayani stated. "[Then, they] establish a committee to review the establishment of a new Bedouin city and we are not allowed to provide input on those plans."

"Unfortunately, the Civil Administration is not a controlled body, and they behave as if they were sovereign," he accused. 

The Civil Administration denied claims that the government is unaware of the plans to build the city.

"The plans were approved via oral agreement by the political leadership several years ago," the Administration responded, adding that the intentions for more building were clear in "High Court petition rulings" on Bedouin land.

Plans for the new town follow similar controversy over Bedouin building in the Negev, where hundreds of villages and hamlets have been illegally built on state land. The unauthorized structures often lack basic infrastructure, including electricity and water.

In 2013, the government created a plan aimed at solving the problem. The initiative, dubbed the Prawer Plan, would have seen the state legalize many of the illegal communities, while relocating other communities to more central areas with existing infrastructure. Residents were to have been compensated for the state land they were moved from. The plan was abandoned following major resistance from Negev Bedouin.