PA illegal infrastructure, construction on Israeli state land in Gush Etzions
PA illegal infrastructure, construction on Israeli state land in Gush EtzionsRegavim

The announcement of the Trump Administration's Deal of the Century has sparked a Palestinian Authority "construction race" in areas designated for Israeli sovereignty in Gush Etzion. Regavim has petitioned the court against the inaction of the Defense Ministry and Civil Administration.

After the debate surrounding Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, the PA launched a "construction race" targeting areas slated for Israeli sovereignty, according to a petition recently filed by Regavim in the Jerusalem District Court.

Regavim's petition focuses on Kfar Nahlin, near Rosh Tzurim in Gush Etzion. Since the roll-out of President Trump’s “Vision for Peace to Prosperity,” an intensive Palestinian Authority effort has been underway to create facts on the ground through illegal construction on Israeli state land adjacent to the village. Recent projects include construction of new buildings and extensive infrastructure work.

Nahlin, located in Area B, under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction, is bounded by a natural river channel. Several months ago, the land outside the village – construction and infrastructure projects crept beyond the boundaries of the village into the area designated as Area C, under full authority of the State of Israel, but the announcement of the Trump plan turned the creeping encroachment into a tidal wave of land seizure activity. The prospect of the plan’s approval of Israeli sovereignty in this particular area set off a one-sided race, as the Palestinian Authority pulled out all the stops to create facts on the ground that would make the Trump plan a non-starter. Construction of some 20 new villas, smaller homes and other permanent structures has been expedited in recent weeks.

PA takeover adjacent to Nahalin
PA takeover adjacent to NahalinRegavim

Regavim alerted the Civil Administration when construction first began, demanding the implementation of the "New Structure Removal Order" signed by the Commander of Central Command two years ago. This highly effective military legislation is an effective enforcement tool against illegal construction which was upheld by Israel’s High Court of Justice when it was challenged in a number of petitions last year.

When construction on the site continued unhindered, the Regavim Movement petitioned the Jerusalem District Court against the Ministry of Defense and the Civil Administration, demanding effective law enforcement against the existing structures and preventive measures to head off any further illegal land-grabs at the site.

Regavim Movement Director Meir Deutsch said: "While our heads of state are debating whether and how sovereignty will be applied, the Palestinian Authority is hard at work, establishing facts on the ground. If we don't wake up, in a few years we will find ourselves faced with an unchangeable reality - and the security and policy ramifications that come with it."

Gush Etzion's Regional Council head Shlomo Ne'eman added: "There's a storm raging in this region. From the beginning of the corona epidemic we have been sounding the alarm against the Palestinian Authority’s hostile takeover of state land. Now that sovereignty is approaching, the Arab race to plunder land throughout Gush Etzion has accelerated. It is inconceivable that the State of Israel has not put a stop to this illegal activity."