Greenhouses in the Jordan Valley
Greenhouses in the Jordan ValleyHagai Huberman

David Alhiani, chairman of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, told Arutz Sheva in an interview Tuesday that Israel was set to lose the Valley – and it was all the fault of the government. The construction of a new Arab city in the Jordan Valley, as announced by the Civil Administration, will effectively close off a large portion of the Valley to Israelis,: he said.

“The city will consist of over 1,100 lots, and will have housing for 10,000 people,” Alhiani said. “In addition, a smaller Arab village is planned for the area.”

Alhiani blames the Civil Administration for trying to steal lots that belong to Israeli towns in the areal. The government was not informed, he said. “The people who are going to be getting this city are criminals who started out by squatting and living in tents, then moved on to makeshift shelters, and finally began illegal construction of homes. Now the government is giving its stamp of approval to this behavior,” he said.

The problem has been clear and growing for years, he added, but the Civil Administration chose to ignore it – and is now trying to “cover its tracks” by officially legalizing the city.

Alhiani said that he and other officials would fight hard against the move. “If they were building in Area B, under PA civil Administration, that would be one thing. But this new city is going to be on Israeli public lands, in Area C. The Civil Administration acted like a thief in the night, arranging everything in secret, and only revealing its plans at the last possible second. The are building this project on land meant for development by the Jordan Valley Regional Council. We will not allow this to happen,” he added.

The Civil Administration said it had no comment on the matter.