MKs: New phenomena – illegal Arab settlements
Knesset members tour West Bank security fence, say Arabs building west of
fence to receive Israeli citizenship. ‘We will act against leaving thousands
of acres outside of security fence needed for expansion of Efrat,’ they say
Aviram Zino YNET Published: 11.15.06, 00:21
In a tour of Gush Etzion and Rachel’s Tomb in the West Bank on Tuesday,
Knesset members from the right pointed out that there seems to be a new
phenomena brewing in the West Bank: Illegal outposts erected by Arabs who
are settling west of the security fence in order to get Israeli citizenship
when the day arrives.
“We decided to act against the decision to leave thousands of acres of
Israeli lands which were purchased by the Jewish National Fund outside of
the security fence. These lands are land reserves for Efrat, and 40 percent
of them are now on the other side of the fence in its current state,” said
one of the MKs.
“We were surprised to see the current route of the fence which was built
only a few meters from the homes in Efrat while the government does not
allow the residents of Efrat to build one more house,” the MKs said.
According to them, many of the younger generation in Efrat are leaving
because there is no room to live anymore.
“Even my two sons have left, despite their wishes to stay,” said head of the
Efrat local council Eli Mizrahi. According to the figures given by the
National Union-National Religious Party, there are 17,000 Arabs and 55,000
Jews living in Gush Etzion.
MK Nissan Slomiansky added: “We will fight the decision to leave wide spaces
to Palestinian control where shots are fired even today towards the
communities in the area.” When asked about the ways of their struggle, the
MK replied: “In the normal parliamentary ways.”
MK Rabbi Yitzhak Levy told Ynet that “there is a need to begin developing
the area of Rachel’s Tomb and return the yeshiva which operated here in the
past. It’s wrong that the access to the tomb is so difficult. It’s wrong
that it is so difficult to reach this place.”
In contrast to the left wing opposition to the security fence, the MKs from
the National Union-NRP think that the solution should be different and there
is a need to put up more checkpoints. According to them, the fence is likely
to cement the border, something they oppose.