In the wake of threats by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed a-Shatiya that the PA aimed to “take over” Area C of Yehudah and Shomron, the Regavim organization has asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to take emergency steps to ensure Israeli sovereignty over the area.
“The activities of the PA in Area C seek to establish facts, and the loose rule Israel imposes on the area facilitates this,” said Meir Deutsch, director of Regavim, which seeks to ensure Israeli sovereignty and control of all areas of the country. “We need to take the PA’s actions in Area C seriously and understand the critical consequences of them for Israel.”
In remarks broadcast in Israeli media, a-Shatiya urged PA Arabs to “act in Area C as if every centimeter belongs to them. There is nothing stopping us from planting crops anywhere, there is nothing stopping us from bring in caravans, there is nothing stopping us from planting trees. Given the lack of progress on the diplomatic front, we need to increase support for our people in the field.”
Under the Oslo Accords, Area C is under full Israeli military and civilian control. That has not stopped PA Arabs from building thousands of illegal structures. Demolition orders have been issued for many of them, but authorities have been slow to execute them, fearing negative international reaction. Area B is under Israeli military control and PA civilian control, and Area A is under full PA control.
A-Shatiya said that he had recently established a special committee that will specialize in seeking ways to increase the PA presence in Area C. Money coming from foreign sources will be redirected to projects that will advance the Area C plan. A-Shatiya added that heads of Arab villages in Area C had been in touch with him, and were prepared to do whatever was necessary to advance the plan.
Israel needed to respond, Deutsch said. “In light of the activity of the PA in Area C, we call on the government to reexamine Israeli policy in all of Yehuda and Shomron, and prevent building in not only Area C, but in Areas A and B as well, in order to prevent the PA from choking off Jewish settlement by taking over open areas,” he added.