PA digs tunnel into Israeli territory

Defense establishment aware of PA activity to take over Har Hebron area but has done nothing about digging of illegal tunnel.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

the entrance to the tunnel
the entrance to the tunnel
צילום: לביא קופיאצקי

A tunnel has been dug at the initiative of the Palestinian Authority near the Israeli communities of Telem and Adora on Mount Hebron.

Arutz Sheva has received information showing that the defense establishment has been aware of the construction of the tunnel but has done nothing about it to date. The PA has told Israel that it had dug a water canal that would assist in the agricultural work carried out by Arab residents in the area.

The area where the tunnel was dug is under Israeli jurisdiction, but the PA has been attempting to take over land in the area through various means, including paving roads, planting seedlings in rocky territory to lay claim to the land, and even building structures within the municipal boundaries of the Telem and Adora communities.

The defense minister's office refused to comment on the matter, and the defense ministry referred Arutz Sheva to the Civil Administration, which stated: "The cases described are known to law enforcement officials. Enforcement activities against them will be carried out in accordance with our authority and procedures, as well as subject to priorities and operational considerations."

Security sources stated that enforcement operations had already been carried out to remove 500 trees that had been planted illegally and also to demolish buildings which had been illegally erected in Tarkumiya.

A security source we spoke to expressed great concern about the tunnel. According to him, there is no doubt that the tunnel is not meant to be a water canal and that its size suggests a different purpose.

Yochai Damari, head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council, said: "This is a scandal and a blatant lack of governance. The Palestinians are building on state territory and Area C that were designated for Israeli construction as if there is no law and no justice. We are making every effort to monitor and report the illegal activity, but with the support of the European Union, the PA continues to proceed. It cannot be that the residents of Har Hebron are suffocated and the State of Israel just stands aside. I call on the Minister of Defense to use the security forces and the Civil Administration to put an unequivocal end to this issue."