PA Exploits Passover Holiday for Illegal ConstructionEdit
Jerusalem, 6 April, 2021 (TPS) -- The Palestinian Authority (PA) took advantage of the Passover holiday recess for large-scale illegal construction, including sites already under court-issued work-stop orders, the Regavim organization reported.
While Israelis enjoyed the week-long Passover holiday, the PA exploited the IDF Civil Administration’s vacation to carry out fast-paced construction at a number of strategically-placed sites in Area C, the areas of Judea and Samaria under full Israeli jurisdiction.
One of the projects aimed at establishing facts on the ground during the inspectors’ vacation is on the outskirts of Rujeib, located between Shechem (Nablus) and the Israeli community of Itamar in Area C.
Over the Passover week, new areas were leveled for construction and infrastructure was laid for an illegal construction project that broke ground in recent months.
In the vicinity of Duma, a village adjacent to the Alon Road in eastern Binyamin and situated in Area C, three permanent structures were built over the holiday, part of an enormous illegal construction project that is doubling the size of the village.
At Khirbet Khurkosh, an archaeological site in central Samaria that has been subjected to large-scale invasion and destruction in recent months, a large brick-and-mortar structure was built over Passover.
Several years ago, Regavim released a report warning of the PA’s exploitation of Jewish holidays for illegal moves and recommended that the Civil Administration hire Druse inspectors to carry out the necessary fieldwork on Jewish holidays, similar to the system used by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor to enforce Israel’s days-of-rest laws and the Ministry of Interior’s system for enforcing Passover laws.
“These are the tip of the iceberg of the systematic annexation-via-construction program that is carried out on Jewish holidays, which have become festivals of illegal construction in the Arab sector throughout Israel, and particularly in Judea and Samaria,” says Eitan Melet, Regavim’s Field Coordinator for Judea and Samaria. “The authorities know full well what will happen, but fail to take any preventative measures.”
In 2009, then-prime minister of the PA Salaam Fayyad laid out the Plan for the Creation of the State of Palestine, a methodical program for seizing control of territory in Area C to form a broad and viable basis for a Palestinian state, specifically in the areas under Israeli control.
Fayyad’s plan essentially bypasses all negotiations or compromises with Israel and creates facts on the ground.
According to data collected by the Regavim movement, which combats illegal Arab construction, in 2009 the number of illegal Arab structures in Area C stood at 29,784, while in 2018 the number surged to 58,435.
The far more worrying statistic is the area covered by illegal Arab construction: In 2009, some 44,538 dunams of land in Area C were being occupied illegally by Arab construction. In 2018, over 78,626 dunams have been overtaken.
The comparison of these figures with the Israeli communities in Area C is instructive: Jewish communities currently cover some 2.5% of Area C. In the past decade, Jewish construction in Area C grew by less than 10,000 dunams, covering 47,327 dunams in 2008 and growing to an area of 56,700 dunams in 2018.