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Activists Plan to Establish New Community ‘Outside the Wall’

by Ezra HaLevi Arutz Sheva

(IsraelNN.com) In a move aimed at reversing the silent policy of freezing the settlement of Judea and Samaria, Land of Israel activists plan to establish a new community “outside the fence” next month.

The selected location for the new community is Givat HaEitam, the hilltop north of Efrat that has a commanding view of the Jerusalem-Hevron Highway and the central Gush Etzion region.

Several trips and visits to the area have taken place since the government decided to abandon the hill to the PA-controlled town of Bethlehem, on whose side of the Partition Wall the land is being left. This time, however, organizers say a core-group of future residents plans to stay and build a permanent community there.

Givat HaEitam belongs to the town of Efrat, the central town in the Gush Etzion region south of Jerusalem. Hundreds of housing units were planned for the site as part of Efrat’s master plan, but since construction of the wall has begun, Arabs have begun staking claims and laying the groundwork for illegal building on the hilltop.

While Arabs Build Civil Administration Shirks
“Arabs came to our hill with a tractor and leveled a rectangular area of approximately 120×40 meters and surrounded it with big boulders, in preparation for a large building project,” Efrat resident and Women in Green director Nadia Matar reported two weeks ago.

As a result the local action committees – grassroots activist groups set up to struggle for Jewish land and civil rights in Judea and Samaria – called upon the masses to come the following day to dismantle the illegal building. “We knew that the moment the authorities put Eitam outside the fence the Arabs would try to take over,” Matar said. “It is happening. Who knows if the area the Arabs are trying to clear is not [intended as a future] launching site for firing Katyusha missiles at Jerusalem, Efrat and Gush Etzion? This is at least the way we should relate to it.”

When the Civil Administration got word of the move, officials reportedly contacted the local council and Efrat security in an attempt to prevent such vigilante justice. The Civil Administration ‘would take care of it’ promptly on Sunday, Efrat’s mayor was reportedly told. “In order to show our good faith, especially now that we have a new ‘machat’ (Brigade Commander) in the area ,the Efrat Action Committee decided to give the Civil Administration a chance and canceled the activity.”

The Civil Administration never arrived. Each day activists were assured the next day would be the day – and each next day it wasn’t. Activists recalled that when Jonathan Pollard’s wife Esther planted trees at another location in honor of her husband, the Civil Administration came “within minutes” to prevent her.

The Efrat Action Committee called upon residents to gather at 6:30 PM Wednesday in Efrat, and to bring with them work gloves and tools to dismantle the groundwork laid illegally on Givat HaEitam.

Yishuv Achshav
Posters are to be posted and distributed in the coming days calling for ‘Settlement Now’ – a play on the name of the virulently anti-Jewish-settlement group Peace Now’s name. “We are unfurling the flag of settlement and establishing new communities in the Land of Israel!” the banners say. The settlement of Givat HaEitam is just the first step in a new campaign to revive the establishment of new settlements throughout Judea and Samaria, the posters promise.

Core-Group Will Stay
Organizers of the new core-group also say the make-up of the participants represents the unity inherent in settling the land.

The group consists of both younger and older families, young couples and singles. Both observant and non-observant Jews, and some participants currently living within Israel’s pre-1967 border.

The project is organized by the Action Committees of Efrat-Gush Etzion-Kiryat Arba-Hevron, Land of Israel Faithful, Youth for Eretz Yisrael and Women in Green. Supporters include the Nahalal Forum, Maginei Eretz, Professors For a Strong Israel and the Yesha Rabbis Council.

For more information or to join the core-group in establishing a community on Givat HaEitam, email: la_ma_as@yahoo.com

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