'Strategic folly'
PA 'intel base' overlooking sensitive IDF base

Residents warn of disaster as IDF considers letting PA build massive complex overlooking Beit El and district army base.

Ido Ben-Porat ,

'Focus' checkpoint adjacent of Judea-Samaria division in Binyamin
'Focus' checkpoint adjacent of Judea-Samaria division in Binyamin
Flash 90

The Beit El regional council in the Binyamin region of Samaria, together with the Regavim movement, submitted their opposition this week to the IDF Civil Administration over plans to build a new Palestinian Authority (PA) governmental building.

The huge PA complex is to be established just a short distance from the town of Beit El and the Judea-Samaria district IDF base.

Around two months ago the PA submitted its plans for the complex to the Civil Administration. It intends to construct a huge multi-storey structure spanning 10,000 meters, inside part of the region classified as Area C by the 1994 Oslo Accords which are to be under full Israeli authority.

The complex is just 350 meters (around 1,150 feet) from homes in Beit El and the district IDF base.

In making the request, the PA is asking for building permits in an area under full Israeli control on nine dunams of land which are under the ownership of the Islamic Waqf.

Making the request all the more questionable is the fact that in the same area there are another 30 dunams of land that lie on land classified as Areas A and B, which according to the Oslo Accords are under PA control, and where the PA can build as it pleases without requiring Israeli permission.

The Regavim movement pointed out that the request fits in to a clear and systematic strategic effort by the PA in recent years to build governmental institutions precisely in regions classified as Area C, even though it has access to wide territories in Areas A and B, as part of a land grab initiative changing the facts on the ground.

Security dangers

Beit El regional council head Shai Alon warned of the dangers inherent if the building permit is approved.

"It cannot be that in a period in which we experience gunfire on the homes of residents of Beit El every few days the construction of a megalomaniacal building will be approved, which overlooks the town and its sole access road," said Alon.

He emphasized that "we will not agree to be sitting ducks and give the Palestinians the ability to 'improve their posts' to shoot at our homes."

Regavim added that the planned building is located on a hill overlooking the Judea-Samaria district IDF base just roughly 300 meters away.

"This is security foolishness of the highest degree," said Oved Arad, direction of Regavim's ground division. "The innocent description of 'a school for government clerks' is an innocent and laundered name for allowing the establishment of a huge intelligence base for the Palestinian Authority."

"This is a huge and strategic site located on an overlooking position above one of the most important bases of the state of Israel, which includes sensitive security facilities," he emphasized.

"The Judea-Samaria division will be spread out at the feet of the (PA) site, and will be completely exposed to a gathering of intelligence information about the troop formations and other sensitive information."