By David Isaac, World Israel News
The Palestinian flag flies above an ancient Hasmonean site in Area C. The Palestinian Authority is systematically taking control of the area. (Regavim)
Israel’s government will hold a discussion on the grave threat posed by the illegal takeover of Area C by the Palestinian Authority.Israel’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will meet this Tuesday to discuss the illegal land grabs of Palestinians in Area C, an area designated for Israeli-control in the Oslo Accords, Hebrew weekly Makor Rishon reports.The three Knesset members who requested the special meeting, Likud MK Shlomo Karai, Shas MK Moshe Arbel and Yemina MK Matan Kahane, did so in light of the coming annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
“At a time when the government of Israel is preparing a plan to apply Israeli sovereignty on areas of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, the Palestinian Authority is accelerating its control over many open areas of Area C,” said Karai.
“The activities of the Palestinian Authority are meant to establish facts on the ground, to gain control of open areas in Judea and Samaria and to shrink the Israeli government’s future space to maneuver,” he said.
“It’s up to the State of Israel to immediately advance an energetic response to these arrogant steps. Areas of C that remain outside sovereignty need to remain under full Israeli control with the potential for [the application of] future sovereignty,” Karai said.
MK Kahane added, “In a systematic way and with the support of the European Union the Palestinian Authority is gaining control of Area C, cutting settlement contiguity and establishing facts on the ground in strategic areas. According to what it looks like now, the deal of the century could weaken Israeli sovereignty still more in these territories, therefore we need to strengthen our purpose. In the discussion, we’ll deal with this grave problem.”
Blue and White MK Zvi Hauser, who chairs the committee, welcomed the request. Hauser has reportedly expressed worry in closed meetings about a demographic change in those parts of Area C already slated for Israeli sovereignty, Makor Rishon says. There are already Palestinian villages in those areas, and Israel’s government is concerned that more Arabs will stream to those villages seeking to live under Israeli rule.
Regavim, an Israeli NGO that focuses on land-use issues, has documented for years that Palestinians have conducted a quiet invasion of Area C in the hopes of putting facts on the ground. They have built 30,000 illegal structures in Area C and extended “strategic agriculture” across 1,000s of acres more.
Naomi Kahn, spokesperson for Regavim, told World Israel News, “The Palestinian Authority has spent the past 10 years changing the map of Area C through illegal construction and agricultural land seizures, concentrating all of its considerable resources on land-grabs rather than developing the land it has under its own jurisdiction in Areas A and B.
“Some 70 percent of available land reserves in PA-controlled areas remain completely empty, and require no Israeli permits or intervention of any kind,” Kahn said.
“For over a decade, since the Prime Minister of the PA launched his plan for statehood which rejected the path of negotiation with Israel and adopted an aggressive vision of facts-on-the-ground through illegal construction, Israel has lost control of hundreds of thousands of dunams of land in Area C — precisely in strategic locations that make the Trump Plan impossible to implement,” she added.
Israeli officials are preparing to carry out a census of Palestinians currently living in areas that are expected to be annexed in the near future with the goal of preventing more Palestinians from entering those villages and then claiming that they have lived there a long time.
The Palestinian Authority, with its corrupt nepotism and lack of freedoms that go largely unreported by the world press, is a place from which Palestinians wish to escape.
A recent Channel 13 report, while anecdotal, found that a majority of Palestinians would actually prefer living under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.