Palestinian construction along the pre-1967 line delimiting Judea and Samaria is endangering nearby communities, Israeli NGO Regavim warns.
The organization, which is dedicated to rooting out illegal Arab construction in Israel, published a map on Monday showing how the Palestinian Authority has been working for years to occupy the seam zone through illegal building projects that create a continuum from the north to the south.
According to the NGO, the P.A. has built 18,899 illegal buildings in Area C of Judea and Samaria, along the pre-1967 line. This is in addition to around 100,000 buildings further into Judea and Samaria.
“We have mapped the entire length of the fence from the north of the Jordan Valley to the south of the Dead Sea, a distance of about 300 kilometers, up to one to four kilometers from the fence. This of course is Area C, an area that is completely controlled by Israel and is supposed to be sterile, guarding the security of the cities in the Center, the Coastal Plain, and Ben-Gurion Airport,” Regavim spokeswoman Tamar Sikurel said.
“The data we found is frightening and threatening, telling an explicit and clear story: The P.A. has built 18,899 illegal structures along this line that are sitting right on the [security] fence—for example, in the IDF training area in the Samaria region, whose proximity to Rosh Ha’ayin is ridiculous, and overlooks [War Cabinet Minister] Benny Gantz’s personal balcony.
“This has been clear to us and to all residents of Judea and Samaria for many years. Now it will explode after Oct. 7. If the distance between Gaza and Ofakim is 25 kilometers, here it is barely four kilometers.
“The statement we are trying to hone now is that it is true that there is illegal construction that needs to be fought against, but there is illegal construction that also poses a real danger; a ticking bomb. It does not depend on whether we withdraw from there or not. This involves a moment’s decision by the Palestinian Authority, as a leading terrorist organization, to turn its guns on the center of the country. Maybe it’s time to wake up here as well and realize that abandoning this area could lead to disaster, as we saw in the Gaza Strip,” Sikurel said.
Avraham Binyamin, director of the policy department at Regavim, said that “the ticking bomb in Judea and Samaria is much more threatening than Hamas in Gaza.
“For years we have been shouting that the abandonment of the land and the turning a blind eye to its massive construction endangers the residents of the entire country, and the events of Oct. 7 proved this.
“The people of Israel received the most painful blow, beyond all imagination, and were forced to realize: The abandonment of the land leads to a massacre. What happened in the Gaza Strip can at any moment occur in Israel,” Binyamin said.