Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne'eman, who also heads the YESHA Council, spoke to Israel National News - Arutz Sheva about how the desert is slowly transforming into a Palestinian city.
Standing near what was supposed to be a nature reserve in eastern Gush Etzion, Ne'eman called on the government to act more harshly to stop the process.
"This is Area B, which is adjacent to towns in eastern Gush Etzion," he explained. "As part of the Wye River Memorandum, the State of Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority the area of the nature reserve, but it was decided that the Palestinians would protect it, and that there would be no construction at the site. As we see here, this desert area has become a city."
"We are standing here, and the trucks travel freely. Every few minutes, there's another truck. Is this how a nature reserve looks? This is how construction and the creating of a city look - and this is an attack: These trucks are tanks and these buggers are missiles."
Adv. Chovav Glick, Chairman of the Lands Committee in the town of Nokdim, was also present during the visit. He documented for an extensive period of time how the city has been constructed.
"We arrive here each week, just about, and document," he said. "Every time, there is a new road here, and a new lot, or a new building. In the past year, there has been a crazy acceleration. They are grabbing every corner here, in a planned, strategic fashion."
"The whole idea here is to separate the Israeli settlements from the Dead Sea, which is obviously our area. This is simply a barrier city which separates the Dead Sea from the mountain area. I call on all of those who supported their government to come here and stop this, before the situation turns into a complete catastrophe."
Ne'eman also showed Israel National News the signs showing that the city was constructed with international aid, including from the United Nations.
"What do we understand? That already a few years ago the plan to construct the city was part of the Palestinian Authority's strategic plan. Such a thing cannot happen by accident. These are entire villages, this is execution of policy by the Palestinian Authority. They send their population here - the goal is to create a situation of connecting the Arabs in the southern Hebron hills and the Arabs in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and creating a clear barrier between Gush Etzion and the desert.
"There is no owner here. No one cares, and even those who do care cannot do anything. This is Oslo - they have already received the land. This is harm to our land, and to our country. The desert is ours. Its name is the Judean Desert, not the Ismaelic Desert," he noted.
Ne'eman also noted that the construction does not only affect the political situation - it also harms the environment: "One of the new uses of the Judean Desert is what we are seeing here in the background: a trash-burning site, from which there are those who earn a living, and thus they burn the desert and pollute the land and the air," he explained.
Meanwhile, the IDF can be seen patrolling the area - but according to Ne'eman, this is only a recent development.
"We are happy that our activity in the past few months has brought the IDF and official State bodies here," he said. "We are internalizing the call and demand: 'Stop this anarchy.' This is how the Oslo Accords look. Those same agreements because of which they murder Jews and take over the land. This place has been abandoned to the Arabs, and they are doing with it if it was theirs."
"Our demand from the Israeli government, from the Prime Minister, Defense Minister, and all of the bodies which are supposed to control the ground, is that they act with all their might. We see the Herodion , one of the landmarks of Gush Etzion, which bears witness to the fact that the People of Israel were active here two thousand years ago. At the foot of the Herodion, they are building a new Arab city. It's really, 'Welcome to Osloland.'"