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Israel must enforce its own laws

Without law, there is chaos, which threatens the Jewish people’s sovereignty over the Land of Israel itself.

A new neighborhood under construction in Ma’ale Hever, Judea and Samaria, on Dec. 28, 2022. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90.
A new neighborhood under construction in Ma’ale Hever, Judea and Samaria, on Dec. 28, 2022. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90.
Naomi Kahn, director of the International Division of Regavim. Photo by Josh Hasten.
Naomi Linder Kahn
Naomi Linder Kahn is director of the International Division of Regavim, a research-based think tank and lobbying group dedicated to preserving Israel’s resources and sovereignty.

A recent exposé published by Israel’s Kol HaYehudi news site was both unsurprising and shocking.

It revealed that an illegal car repair garage at Ariel Junction, frequented by Jewish residents and motorists, is owned and operated by a supporter of terrorism. Moreover, he is a relative of the terrorist who carried out a murderous attack near Eli last week in which four innocent Israelis were killed and numerous others wounded.

The unsurprising aspect of this story is that the proprietor of this illegal business, housed in an illegal structure in a strategic spot in Samaria, is a supporter of terrorism.

Abed Al Fatah Sabah, the owner of “Abed’s Garage,” is a representative of the Allegiance with Martyrs Party in the municipal council of Urif. This is same village in which the two terrorists who perpetrated the Eli massacre lived and are now being glorified.

What is shocking is that the Civil Administration, the arm of the IDF that is responsible for maintaining law and order and protecting the lives of Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria, continues to allow a supporter of terrorism to conduct business illegally in a location that jeopardizes lives.

Back in 2019, the Regavim Movement issued what should have been a wake-up call: The terrorist who went on a murderous spree that claimed the lives of IDF soldier Gal Keidan and Rabbi Achiad Ettinger took refuge in the very same illegal compound that houses Abed’s Garage.

When this illegal strip mall was being constructed, the Regavim Movement filed repeated complaints with the Civil Administration. It demanded that the law be enforced and the authorities remove what anyone with a modicum of foresight could see was a security threat.

The Regavim Movement has long highlighted the nationalist motives behind much of the illegal Arab construction in Area C—officially under full Israeli control—as well as the erosion of Israel’s security that results from rampant illegal construction at strategic points throughout Judea and Samaria.

Clearly, the Civil Administration has lost sight of its mandate and continues to turn a blind eye to the massive takeover of strategic ground through illegal construction and other projects masterminded by the Palestinian Authority.

There are over 81,000 illegal Arab structures in Area C. These structures are both a form of quiet annexation and a base for terrorist activity. They endanger the lives of Israelis as well as the sovereignty and security of the State of Israel as a whole.

The Civil Administration’s answers to Regavim’s repeated complaints about the illegal structures at Ariel Junction were always the same: “Enforcement will be carried out according to established priorities.”

This cluster of illegal businesses was one of the topics on the public agenda in the run-up to elections in Ariel five years ago, but since that time, nothing has been done to enforce the law or curb the compound’s continued growth and expansion. The time has come to break the cycle and shift the paradigm. Our national interest demands equal and universal law enforcement.

There are larger lessons to be learned from this. Inescapable conclusions must be drawn and acted upon before more lives are lost in Judea, Samaria, the Negev, the Galilee and everywhere else under the jurisdiction of the State of Israel.

Where there is no law, there is chaos. Inevitably, such a vacuum will be filled by criminals and terrorists. Those forces will always—without fail and without exception—work against the safety and security of all residents of the region and threaten the sovereignty of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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