Safeguarding Israel’s Legacy: Responding to Hostile Land Seizures in Judea and Samaria

The preservation of Israeli lands in Judea and Samaria is of paramount importance, a sentiment shared by many who recently attended a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting. The core discussion revolved around the Palestinian Authority’s covert takeover of open areas in these regions, a topic that has been stirring concern within Israel’s governing body.

Our very own Committee Chair MK Edelstein kicked off the dialogue with a discerning observation, highlighting the systematic and calculated nature of this land seizure. He emphasized its implications on stifling the growth of Jewish communities and usurping control of crucial traffic arteries. Strikingly, this stealthy encroachment is not confined to Area C, where Israel retains full control, but also targets Areas A and B, which are under Palestinian Authority’s civil control according to the Oslo Accords.

Lt.-Col. Adam Avidan, a crucial voice within the IDF Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, underscored the need for equitable law enforcement, indicating that Israeli and Palestinian construction regulations in Area C are identical. Avidan revealed that the majority of Palestinian permit requests are rejected, often due to professional issues or political reasons, and that most aim to retroactively rectify building violations.

He further discussed that there’s more Israeli construction approval compared to Palestinians, with new illegal structures frequently discovered in both sectors. He noted that most Israeli constructions are within the localities, overseen by the local authority.

This discussion then turned to the intelligence report published in 2021 by the Ministry of Intelligence, citing a “Palestinian campaign to reshape the area.” As pointed out by MK Avichay Buaron, this strategic scheme disregards the definitions of Areas A, B, and C, thus negatively impacting the settlement enterprise and Israel’s ability to conduct effective routine security activity.

Praising the IDF for their relentless pursuit of maintaining security, Minister Bezalel Smotrich highlighted the need for a comprehensive response to the land seizure issues. He criticized the system for being dated, emphasizing the necessity for more efficient and democratic civilian management.

Smotrich revealed the formation of a committee of director generals, led by the Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, tasked with coordinating a security, economic, and international campaign. He expressed hope that this will lead to defining the Palestinian Authority’s activity as hostile political activity. This, he believes, will improve enforcement in Judea and Samaria, preserving Israel’s national, security, and diplomatic interests.

This event reaffirmed the State of Israel’s commitment to safeguarding its land and ensuring the welfare of its people. Israel will continue to strive for a harmonious coexistence, and yet, will not shy away from confronting any threat to its sovereignty or national interests.

And so, it is important that we all rally behind the values that make Israel strong: its resolve, its commitment to peace, and its unwavering determination to secure the land that has been passed down through generations. Let us not forget that it is these values that have shaped Israel into the resilient nation it is today – a beacon of democracy and innovation in the heart of the Middle East. Let us continue to uphold these principles and ensure that our cherished homeland thrives for generations to come.