Palestinian bomb shelter factory near Otniel
Palestinian bomb shelter factory near OtnielScreen shot. Mount Hebron Council.

The new head of the Mount Hebron Council, Eliram Azoulay, spoke to Arutz Sheva - Israel National News on the dangerous absurdity taking place near Otniel, according to which bomb shelters are being built by the Ministry of Defense in an illegal Palestinian factory.

"This is ridiculous. An illegal factory is taking over Area C," says Azoulay, noting that if that is not enough, in order to reach the factory, the trucks have to pass through Area B, in the area of Karameh, a village near Otniel, "where they manufacture bomb shelters. Last week we found out that there is another factory at the entrance to Tarqumiya, which manufactures the same bomb shelters for the Defense Ministry, by an illegal Palestinian factory."

The trucks entering and exiting these illegal factories bear signs stating that they are working as a "Ministry of Defense supplier." This is how they enter Area B, an area defined, in principle, as a no-go zone for Israelis.

Azoulay suggests that our question of why the bomb shelters are produced by Palestinians and not in Israeli factories should be posed to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, and the Civil Administration. He notes that as early as January 18, the Land Department of the Mount Hebron Council had already reported to the Administration the beginning of groundworks for the construction of the plant. "Of course, we didn't receive any response," he says. "The factory was built and we understood that it was a factory for the production of bomb shelters. The Minister of Defense and the Civil Administration owe us some answers."

In regard to the Civil Administration, it also deems fit to mention Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Minister in the Ministry of Defense in charge of the Civil Administration, and Azoulay emphasizes that the issue is not a controversy of right-versus-left. "People here have broken the law. Israeli trucks bearing the symbol of the Ministry of Defense supplier entered the village of Karameh, where it was reported in September that a Hamas terrorist unit was planning to carry out an attack in the immediate future and had been arrested by the Shin Bet."

"All this is happening during wartime. It is ridiculous that while the enemy is firing at us, he is the one who is manufacturing our means of protection and making a living from the war that he himself has created. In addition, statistics say that 80% of Palestinians support the Simchat Torah massacre," Azoulay mentions.

The Civil Administration, Azoulay says, said that they would examine the claims. "I know that this will be brought before the government as well and I sincerely hope that the government will stop this absurdity. I strive to provide security for the communities in Mount Hebron, but not to play a ‘two-sided game’ to save money or support the Palestinians."

Regarding our question about the quality of the bomb shelters produced by these illegal Palestinian factories, Azoulay replies that he does not know and that this must also be checked by the Ministry of Defense. "The residents need protection, and instead of strengthening the approved communities, the state has chosen to strengthen the illegal communities and give Palestinians a livelihood," he says, noting that there is no doubt about the illegality of the factories in question. "They have no permit there for an illegally built factory. It's not a place that has been approved for construction and they don't have a building permit."