Sometime in the coming days a governmental committee is to convene to decide whether a new Qatari-funded Arab city in the heart of Samaria will be populated.
It is currently expected that Israel will remove the last barrier blocking the city – which is already near completely-built – and allow the city to be connected to Israel's water supply.
The "Joint Water Committee for Israel and the Palestinians," established in the framework of the Oslo Accords, is to vote on the final approval. Both Israel and the PA have veto power over any project brought for approval – and have used it extensively over the past two years: The PA has refused to approve water projects for Jewish communities (except for those within the towns themselves), and Israel has not approved the Rawabi plans.
A deal has now been worked out, however, whereby both sides will approve the other's projects – which means that the city of Rawabi will soon be a "fact on the ground."
However, as the grassroots "Cities of Israel" (Mattot Arim) organization has pointed out, the security implications of a Qatar-funded city in Israel have not been sufficiently taken into account – especially now that the extent of Qatari support for Hamas during the recent war in Gaza is well-known.
"How far will the tunnels reach this time?" the organization asks, in a letter to Committee Chairman Infrastructures Minister Silvan Shalom. "Will they reach all the way to Tel Aviv?"
Rawabi is actually located only about 3 kilometers north of the Jewish community of Ateret (population: 850), which might make for an easier target.
Likud MKs Yariv Levine and Ze'ev Elkin, and Jewish Home MKs Moti Yogev and Orit Strook, have contacted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon on the matter; their response has not been reported.
Cities of Israel has initiated a letter-writing campaign, asking its supporters and sympathizers to make their concerns known to Minister Shalom [email protected] and the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy, and Water Resources.