Illegal PA building has Gush Etiyon worried

Residents express fears over the Gush Etzion region's future as illegitimate P Construction rolls on.

Shimon Cohen ,

illegal PA construction
illegal PA construction
צילום: תום ניסני

The Palestinian Authority continues its illegal building work in the Judean desert. Arutz Sheva spoke with Amit Barak, a member of the Herodion Regional Heritage Council, who is struggling against these efforts.

"We went into the desert, not for the first time, to document the damage these projects will do to the area," Barak said. "You can see how much harm will be done to the Gush Etzion area as soon as you drive over the first hill. Technically, this land is a nature preserve - no one of any nationality should be building here, as provided in every accord ever signed."

"This is an organized roadbuilding effort, mostly involving dirt roads, but ins some places there has been heavy equipment brought up to smooth roadbeds and pour concrete paving. Both are in violation of the rules of nature preserves and are now openly funded by the EU. The roads, in turn, serve as lifelines to bring in supplies for new and equally illegitimate farms. Such efforts generate enormous amounts of waste as well, leading to private, illegitimate landfills or garbage fires." Barak added that the roads are being planned and built-in an orderly fashion, each with a number and name, indicative of the high level of the government from which the instructions to build must have been issued.

"They are building from the northeast and then to the west, thus creating a barrier between the Jewish settlements and the Judean Desert, a barrier that will rapidly become a noose as they build towards Jerusalem and Efrat. We will be totally isolated."

Barak expressed worries about whether the area could continue to serve as the popular recreational destination it is now. "We compiled video evidence, along with a letter of explanation, and sent it to various bodies: the civil administration, Nature and Parks Authority, to the regional council, to ministers. Thus far, only the civil administration has responded, and only to the effect that they are closing our complaint."

"We intend to bring politicians here, especially now, before the election," Barak said of the Council''s plans for the near future. When asked what the most significant facts have been determined so far in the field, he says: "They are building houses and villages. There are dozens of houses, even equipped with security cameras, and the State of Israel takes no action."