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Gush Etzion Council warns of illegal PA city in Judea nature reserve

Jerusalem's failure to stop the project represents a "loss of governance on the most serious level," says Gush Etzion Regional Council chairman.

A home in the new Palestinian Authority city in the Judean Desert. Photo by Gush Etzion Regional Council.
A home in the new Palestinian Authority city in the Judean Desert. Photo by Gush Etzion Regional Council.

The Gush Etzion Regional Council, which administers the bloc of Jewish communities south of Jerusalem, has called on the Israeli government to act against the construction of an illegal Palestinian city in the Judean Desert.

Under the slogan “It’s all been predicted—the [Palestinian] Authority builds,” the regional council on Monday launched a public relations campaign against the P.A.’s attempt to build in the area, which it said violates agreements signed between Israel and the PLO.

Under the 1998 Wye River Memorandum, intended to facilitate the implementation of the Oslo II agreement, the zone is designated as a nature reserve, and Ramallah agreed it would make “no changes in the status of these areas.”

Gush Etzion Regional Council Chairman and Yesha Council head Shlomo Ne’eman called Jerusalem’s failure to put a stop to the project a “loss of governance on the most serious level,” which threatens the Jewish presence in the region.

Ne’eman said the new city could potentially be used as a base for terrorist organizations operating in the area.

“I call on all of the decision-makers to come to this … reserve to understand the situation and immediately stop the continuation of this dangerous construction,” he added.

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