PA Constructs Illegal City in Judean Desert Nature Reserve Amid War

By Yoni Weiss

A view of the new illegal city in the Judean Desert nature reserve.

The Palestinian Authority is rapidly constructing a new illegal city in the Judean Desert nature reserve under the cover of the ongoing war in Gaza, according to Gush Etzion Regional Council head Yaron Rosenthal. He describes the situation as a “severe failure” and urges the Israeli government to take immediate action.

The construction of the city was first exposed about a year ago in an investigative report by Yisrael Hayom in collaboration with the Regavim organization. The report highlighted the severe damage being caused to the nature reserve and the security threat posed to Gush Etzion, as it isolates the settlements and turns them into enclaves surrounded by Arab cities and villages.

The Oslo Accords explicitly state, “The Palestinian side shall safeguard and preserve the Nature Reserves in accordance with established scientific standards,” strictly prohibiting construction in the reserve area. Even in Area B, which is under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control, the interim agreements prohibit new construction while allowing maintenance of existing roads and buildings.

Following the public exposure of the illegal city, there was a significant uproar. Former Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman brought in influencers to raise public awareness and pressure the government to act. Before Rosh Hashanah, the Yesha Council held a ceremonial toast at the site, attended by Minister for Settlement and National Missions Orit Strock, which led to a confrontation with Palestinians.

Despite statements from government officials, no action has been taken, allowing the construction to rapidly advance without law enforcement intervention. Numerous new roads and buildings have been constructed over an area of approximately 6 kilometers. Recently, city planners have begun building a Palestinian tourist resort, with swift progress on the project and its access roads.

Rosenthal stated, “While some of us have become disillusioned with the concept in Gaza, burying our heads in the sand regarding Yehudah and Shomron continues. If we do not stop the rampant illegal construction in the reserve today, in a few years we will be dealing with one of the most severe security incidents here. This severe failure is a security threat to the State of Israel – wake up.”

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!