The municipality of Beit El and the Regavim movement last week submitted their objection to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) regarding the construction of a giant government complex the Palestinian Authority is planning on an area of 12,000 square yards, only 350 yards from the town of Beit El and the Judea and Samaria Division base in Benjamin Region.
The PA applied to COGAT for a permit to build 9 acres of the planned complex (out of 30 acres) in Area C, which is entirely under Israeli jurisdiction according to the Oslo agreements. The rest of the complex will be built in areas A and B, where the PA need not request permission to build.
According to Regavim, this move represents the PA’s salami approach, which insists on launching construction which cuts into Area C with the purpose of eroding Jewish control over it.
Head of the Beit El Council Shay Alon said in a statement that “it is inconceivable that at a time when every few days we experience shooting at residential homes in Beit El, there will be an allowance for a megalomaniacal structure which controls the community and its only access road. We will not agree to become ducks in a shooting gallery and permit the Arabs to improve their positions to facilitate shooting at our homes.”
The Regavim movement said in a statement that it would be a first-rate security folly to erect the compound on a hill overlooking the IDF Division from only 350 yards away. “The innocent description [of the project as a] ‘School for government officials’ may be a cover for the creation of giant intelligence base for the PA.”
Oved Arad, director of the field division in Regavim, said that “This would be a giant, strategic compound located in a controlling position above one of Israel’s most important bases, which includes sensitive security facilities. The Judea and Samaria Division would be spread right below the [PA] compound, completely exposed to intelligence gathering regarding troop sizes and other sensitive information.”
Except that it appears the defense ministry does not object to the PA’s request, which News 0404 founder Boaz Golan has viewed as “sheer madness.”