One of the shelters leaving the factory
One of the shelters leaving the factoryOtniel

Residents of the village of Otniel in the southern Hebron Hills were surprised to discover near the village, in Area C which is fully controlled by Israel, a new factory that manufactures bomb shelters and employs Palestinian Arabs.

One of the residents told Arutz Sheva-Israel National News that the intensive construction in the area began at the beginning of the war with substantial earthworks using heavy machinery.

Residents of the village contacted the military and the Civil Administration claiming the work was an additional attempt to take over Area C.

Military officials claimed that the construction was okay and was cleared with the IDF District Coordination and Liaison. Later, the residents learned that the construction was meant to build a bomb shelter factory, which not only had begun operations but had even begun sending completed products to IDF bases.

"This week we say cranes and trucks coming to the area to load the finished shelters," the resident stated.

"We hopped over to the site and we began speaking with the people, some of whom were Israeli Arabs and some Jews. They said that these were shelters sent around to IDF bases across the country. The one in charge of the work is a Palestinian Arab contractor, who explained that he works in cooperation with the IDF and even has a permit to enter IDF bases."

The villagers of Otniel are furious, "The Palestinian contractor took over lands in Area C and not only has the IDF not evicted him, but they also funded his work to prepare the land and the factory."

The Defense Ministry, which claims that it was behind the construction of the factory, stated: "The Ministry of Defense only manufactures shelters in Israeli factories run by recognized contractors, who are listed as ministry suppliers and were chosen through the contractual procedure by law. The claims presented are not known to us."

An IDF source told Arutz Sheva-Israel National News that the contractor is not a Palestinian, but rather an Israeli company and Israeli businessmen who rented the land with authorization and permission, "they employ Palestinian and Israeli Arab workers, the shelters are authorized and the shipping documents are Israeli."