IDF Central Command officers – whose jurisdiction includes Judea and Samaria – say that in the coming months, Arabs will step up their efforts to take over lands in the region. Similarly, they predict, land disputes will occur more frequently – and all this, the Arabs hope, will help them grab more land for the state they would like to unilaterally establish later this year.
Correspondent Haggai Huberman reports that army officers describe the situation as a “competition” between Jews and Arabs as to who can grab more land. The PA is reportedly making efforts in many directions to prepare for the establishment of a state – including fighting terrorism, building their infrastructures and institutions, and cracking down on law and order.
Jews Fight Back, Despite Odds
The land-grab competition cards are stacked against the Jews, for Arabs build wherever they want with barely any fear that their construction will be considered illegal, and even less concern that it will be razed. Despite this, Jews are fighting back where they can. In the Shomron (Samaria) and Binyamin, efforts are being made to save Jewish state-owned lands, though the organizers do not wish to discuss them in detail. “Suffice it to say that we are saving thousands of dunams throughout the Shomron,” one source said, “firstly by protecting against Arab infiltration, and secondly via Jewish farming.”
In Gush Etzion, Women in Green has succeeded on its own in redeeming 40 dunams (10 acres) of land in Netzer, between Alon Shvut and Elazar – and has plans to redeem another 70. “But the problem is, of course, money,” says Nadia Matar, co-organizer of the efforts.
“In 2008,” she told Israel National News, “[PA chairman] Mahmoud Abbas publicized his plan to take over all of Judeaand Samaria by planting a million saplings. A year and a half later, [PA prime minister Salam] Fayyad said they would plant ten million. A few days ago, Aaron Lerner of IMRA disseminated a speech by Fayyad in Tul Karem in which he said straight out that the war at present is for Area C.” [Area C, as defined by the Oslo Accords, is the area of Judea and Samaria that remains under total Israeli control; Area A is under total PA control, and Area B is controlled militarily by Israel and administratively by the PA.]
Fayyad also called in his speech for increased Arab farming of these areas, “as well as international help with the specific purpose of creating a state of Palestine, Heaven forbid,” Matar said.
“We have been fighting this fight in Netzer for the past two years,” she added, “and we call on everyone to save all State-lands in Area C that have not yet been stolen by the Arabs. We have many people who want to help, including from the Galilee, but this work needs to be funded – tractor work to clear the area, planting, connecting to water, etc. Every dunam [quarter-acre] costs $3,000 a year for water, upkeep, saplings, tractors, and the like… Most of the lands that are still available – that have not yet been stolen by the Arabs – are in mountainous areas, and much tractor work is necessary to straighten it.”
“This is work that the government should be doing – saving State-owned lands for the future of the Jewish People. But in the meanwhile, we have to depend on good Jews to help fund us.”
“Every town and community should get a map of the State-owned lands in their area,” Matar says, “and should organize themselves, go out, guard the area, plant it, and then work the land. Otherwise, Heaven forbid, our Jewish areas will become isolated enclaves and we will be choked in a sea of Arabs. We have to recognize our power to change reality; we can do it!”