An extravagant event hall built illegally, documented by Regavim

In recent months, we’ve documented the illegal construction of a Palestinian water park in Area C, the portion of Judea and Samaria under full Israeli jurisdiction.

The complex, which opened this summer, is located just 200 meters away from a major road in the heart of Area C, and has a large lawn, pools and facilities, including a massive parking lot where hundreds of people arrive every week to enjoy the attractions that were built without permits or supervision.

The Palestinians are enjoying themselves at our expense; this is another tactic in the Palestinian Authority’s plan to take over Area C.

An aerial photo of a water park built illegally by Palestinian Arabs

Palestinians have also built two event halls, also adjacent to critical roads, in Gush Etzion. These include magnificent gardens, pools, food trucks, playgrounds, soccer fields, volleyball courts, all built illegally on Israeli state lands.

Both halls were built in areas declared non-construction zones by the military, with the hall in eastern Gush Etzion next to a road where tens of thousands of Israeli vehicles pass by every day and is a known stone-throwing spot. The building works also damaged Jewish archaeological sites.

The Civil Administration has said that it’s aware of these illegal structures and issued stop-work orders. However, the two event halls remain standing, the criminals have not been brought to justice, and Israel continues to squander its precious land resources.

An illegal event hall in Gush Etzion, part of the Palestinian takeover of Area C

Last weekend, Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) handed down a decision on a petition that’s been pending for two decades. The High Court allowed for hundreds of Palestinian invaders to be evicted from Training Ground 918, an IDF training zone in the South Hebron Hills region. The complicated case has been discussed in the courtrooms for no less than 20 years – a discussion that’s been based mainly on Fake News peddled by radical left-wing NGOs and the Palestinian Authority.

After repeatedly preventing any enforcement action against the invaders (who, in the meantime, built hundreds of additional illegal structures), the HCJ examined the aerial photos and maps, which prove beyond doubt that there was never any permanent Arab settlement in the area before it was declared an IDF training zone.

The Court’s verdict confirmed the obvious, and green-lighted the eviction of the invaders and return of the territory to the hands of the IDF.

It took two decades (!) for the HCJ to reach the right decision about 30,000 dunams that were stolen from the State of Israel – two decades too long, during which the case became more complex, problematic, and entangled in legal bureaucracy.

The Courts’ misguided and boundless leniency toward Palestinian intruders, even when at the expense of Israelis’ security and safety, proves to be a disaster, time and again. Instead of dealing with the problem in 918 early on, the State of Israel now needs to confront a difficult reality on the ground.

In the last few days, unsurprisingly, the Haaretz newspaper launched a propaganda campaign about the “Masafer Yatta eviction”. However, the facts are quite different, as we told you back in February 2021 >> see here.

This morning, Bedouin lawbreakers herding flocks of thousands of sheep invaded the IDF Tzeelim Base, leading to a confrontation with the Israel Police and the Green Patrol who were called out to remove the intruders from the IDF’s live-ammunition training area. The intruders called in backup of their own – Bedouin residents of the Bir Hadaj squatters’ camp – who stoned the police officers, faced off with the enforcement patrol, and attempted to run over one of the inspectors.

As this scene was unfolding, a different face-off was taking place in the Knesset, where ministers were embroiled in a tug-of-war over the government’s new five-year plan for the Negev. Over the past several weeks, the previous five-year plan (2397) – a ₪3 billion package that included 200 million shekels for forestation, land protection and law enforcement – ran its course. The new plan, which the government is scheduled to debate and approve this week, does not include one single shekel for these crucial projects; the chapter on enforcement was simply cut out of the draft legislation.

The plan in its present form includes funding for Bedouin municipalities but is completely devoid of any allocation of resources for enforcement authorities. It will cause long-term damage to the state of governance in the Negev.

Increased enforcement activity in the Negev over the past year is the result of government decisions and budgetary allocations legislated in 2017. As it now reads, the new Negev Five-Year Plan will cut the oxygen supply for enforcement, and the results will be felt over the coming years. Under no condition should this plan be approved; all ‘carrots’ and no ‘sticks’ is not a plan, it’s a recipe for disaster.

When you repeat a lie so many times, it becomes the accepted truth. That’s a tactic the international media and left-wing NGOs have been implementing in the last few days. They’ve been making a lot of noise about a Bedouin ‘village’ in the Jordan Valley that was torn down by Israel — again.

For the sixth time in a year, a number of tents and pens in so-called Khirbet Humsa were removed by the Civil Administration last week, setting the Pallywood machine into full motion, as customary. Israel was portrayed as the evil oppressor that denies poor Bedouin a life of safety and security, blah blah.

But the story is a little more complex.

In an area that has been an active IDF live-fire zone since 1972, Bedouins set up camp in 2010. To prevent their removal from the site, the Bedouins appealed three times (in April & July 2011, and in November 2014) to the High Court of Justice. Each time, the appellants invoked a new excuse – Ramadan, the weather, who knows what – to try to cling onto the land. The appeals were all rejected, and the illegal outpost has been dismantled and re-erected a number of times since the High Court rulings. Anti-Israel groups, foreign media outlets and governments are loving it.

Yet as our satellite images show, in 2008 there was nothing there! In 2013, an image of the same point shows only one structure, and in 2019 there were already a number of EU-funded structures.

It’s a game. The IDF removes the structures, left-wing “human rights” activists come along with their cameras, and then PA officials come to rebuild the “structures” (more like tents). In the meantime, the vulnerable population that lives there is being exploited cynically by the PA. The Palestinian Authority would serve these people better by enabling them to live somewhere legal, somewhere no Israeli permits are required, such as the 63% of Areas A and B that are completely empty and available for whatever use they choose.

But no. Because this is a political issue.

Bedouin are sent to seize strategic locations in Judea and Samaria, lured by various benefits, often placed in tough and dangerous conditions. It’s a win-win situation for the PA. If the Bedouin manage to consolidate their settlement, it’s a successful land grab! And if they’re kicked out by Israel – false narratives can be peddled through the international media, and Israel can be painted as the evil denier of rights, etc.

Don’t fall prey to the Palestinians’ propaganda. Please help us get the truth out. We don’t expect anti-Semites to be convinced by facts, but regular, fair-minded, truth-seeking people around the world deserve to know the full facts and history. Share this article.

Illegal junkyard on IDF Training Ground cleared

Recently, we exposed, along with journalist Lia Spilkin that a huge number of old Egged buses were sold to an illegal junkyard. Since the operation of the junkyard was carried out without supervision, ignoring all regulations and requirements, the environmental damage was huge, and old vehicle parts found their way onto the black market.

Egged claimed that it’s not responsible for what happens in junkyards that it doesn’t own. Even if the purchase of old buses is made by a criminal, and despite the environmental damage, Egged isn’t interested. When we asked for information about the buyer, the bus company refused to comment.

Regavim approached the Civil Administration to demand enforcement action against the junkyard, located on IDF Training Ground 203 in the western Binyamin region. Civil Administration officials responded, as expected, that enforcement will take place “in accordance with established priorities”.

On this occasion, the public and media attention clearly had an effect: the Civil Administration evacuated the junkyard and confiscated the criminals’ work vehicles.

We plan to monitor the situation on the ground to make sure that the criminals don’t return to their damaging ways. All over the country, we shall continue our Zionist activities, fighting for the protection of Israel’s environment and land resources. If you want to be part of our important efforts, you’re invited to donate to Regavim.

Regavim calls on any government that is formed not to abandon the Negev. The Negev is a key part of the Zionist vision! But when the State of Israel fails to govern, other forces fill the void. Regavim invites you to take a long, hard look at where we are and where we’re headed in the Wild South; it’s not too late to change course.

Security coordinator Andrei Dostov

Security Coordinator whose weapon was impounded last year when spiteful, baseless charges were filed against him by criminals, was wounded last night as he fended off a terrorist with his bare hands while protecting his community.

Last night (Sunday 30 May) a terrorist who infiltrated from the Gaza Strip stabbed the Security Coordinator of one of the Shalom Region communities. The Security Coordinator, who had been awarded certificates of excellence for his outstanding service, was unarmed: Last year, criminals whom he had apprehended and turned over to the police took revenge against him by filing trumped up charges with the Internal Affairs Department. Only last week, the Security Coordinator appealed, with the assistance of Regavim, for the return of his firearm, but his appeal was rejected.

The Security Coordinator of Avshalom, a Jewish community in the “Gaza Envelope” region, prevented what might have been a major terrorist attack, fending off an infiltrator who crossed the security barrier from Gaza armed with knives under cover of darkness last night (Sunday). The Security Coordinator sustained stab wounds to the arms and stomach, and was evacuated to the hospital for medical care. A second security team member, who arrived at the scene while the struggle was in progress, shot the intruder and neutralized him.

The absurdity of the situation can’t be missed: The first responder at the scene, who sprang into action in response to the alert sounded by residents of the community, has been forced to fulfill his security duties for the past year barehanded, as a result of a spiteful, unfounded complaint filed against him by Bedouin criminals from the squatters’ camp at Bir Hadaj whom he apprehended last year. Only last week, the appeal submitted to the Internal Affairs Department of the Ministry of Homeland Security by this decorated and highly regarded Security Coordinator and the Security Coordinator of another nearby Jewish community, with the assistance of the Regavim Movement, was rejected on the grounds that there was “cause for concern for the public’s safety.”  

The two Security Coordinators are Israel Police volunteers, and in the course of their duties last year they detained several suspects. The police officer who joined them issued the suspects citations for serious safety infractions and for violations of corona regulations then in force.

An IDF certificate awarded to the security coordinator

As the situation unfolded, the suspects threatened the volunteer policemen, warning them that they would take revenge. Soon after, they submitted a complaint to the Internal Affairs Investigation Unit, claiming that the volunteers had drawn their weapons on them. As a result, the two Security Coordinators’ personal firearms were impounded, forcing them to submit an appeal with the assistance of the Regavim Movement’s Legal Department.

Absurd as it may sound, their appeal was rejected on the grounds that these highly regarded security specialists pose a potential “danger public safety,” despite the fact that both men continue to take part in active police activity and carry firearms while on duty as volunteer policemen and during their IDF reserve duty, to which both men were conscripted in recent weeks.

“Tonight, it became clear beyond a shadow of doubt that this brave and professional Security Coordinator is no threat to public safety – he is the protector of public safety. If the terrorist had come upon women and children rather encountering this trained and fearless man, tonight would have ended in tragedy,” said Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim. “I hope the Ministry of Public Security will come to its senses immediately and return the Security Coordinators’ weapons without delay.”

UPDATE (2 June):
In face of this injustice, Regavim felt the need to intervene and help these two brave men. We raised the issue in the media and on our social media platforms, and made sure the entire country heard about the joint fight of Andrei, his friend Bert, and Regavim.

Yesterday, thanks to Regavim’s legal pressure, and thanks to the help of Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana, the two Security Coordinators received their weapons back. In the afternoon, Regavim’s Director General and Spokesman traveled down south to meet Andrei and Bert and award them certificates to thank them for their service.

We are pleased and honored to have been able to help these two men, to correct a wrong, and to improve their personal safety, as well the security and safety of Israel’s southern residents.

Regavim meets the two security officers whose weapons were confiscated and later returned

Shin Bet, together with the IDF and Israel Police, has exposed what Regavim has been shouting for ages. Under the guise of “humanitarian aid”, millions of euros that are donated to the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) actually fund terrorist activities.

For years, we’ve been sounding the alarm bells about the direct link between European funds and terrorist organizations. Take, for example, the Union of Agricultural Works Committee (UAWC), the ‘agricultural arm’ of the PFLP – a terror organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction. Last year, it was reported that the Dutch government paid the salaries of two senior UAWC members, Samer Arbid & Abdel Raziq Faraj, who murdered 17-year-old Jewish girl Rina Shnerb.

In our 2018 report ‘Roots of Evil’, we also exposed the UAWC’s illegal projects in Area C, intended to create facts on the ground and establish a de-facto Palestinian state.

The Europeans and their various aid groups like to meddle in Israel’s internal affairs. We think that this needs to stop. European colonialism, while cleverly and slyly masked as “humanitarian aid”, violates Jewish national and individual rights in the Land of Israel. All this reminds us of an age-old term that begins with an A…

Regavim: Protecting Israel’s Resources, Preserving Israeli Sovereignty

The State of Israel enacted an effective enforcement order to fight the Palestinian takeover of Judea and Samaria, but the Civil Administration has refrained from using it – despite the approval of the High Court of Justice. Now, the Regavim Movement and the Samaria Regional Council have submitted a High Court petition demanding that the legislation be applied against Palestinian invasion of an archaeological site in Samaria.

Over the past several months, Regavim has documented a persistent stream of incursion and annexation, as residents of Burkin, a village located in the area under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction, have taken over a significant parcel of land in the Ariel Commercial Zone – located in Area C, under full Israeli jurisdiction.

The area that is being quietly annexed is adjacent to an archaeological site known as Khirbet Khurkosh, where a magnificent Hellenistic Era mausoleum was discovered, along with other remains dating from the Iron Age through the Middle Ages.

This gradual annexation began with road work, which was soon followed by land clearing and preparation for agricultural work. Mature olive trees were quickly planted, in an attempt to make the newly-cleared area look “old” – and now, a large structure, already connected to electricity infrastructure despite its considerable distance from the village, is nearing completion. This entire project is unfolding on “survey land,” Israeli state land for which full registration has not been completed.

The recently-filed High Court petition emphasizes that six different requests for enforcement were submitted to the relevant authorities at each of the stages of the annexation process, but the work continued, unhindered, and no discernable enforcement has been carried out.

For years, the Palestinian Authority and its partners in the European Union have exploited the Israeli bureaucratic and legal systems, successfully preventing law enforcement against illegal Palestinian annexation.

In 2018, the “Order for the Removal of New Illegal Structures” was enacted by the defense establishment and the State Attorney’s Office as part of the “Battle for Area C.” This legislation allows the demolition of new structures built without a permit within six months of construction. The order may be implemented within 96 hours of issuance of an eviction order.

The “Removal of New Structures” order is an effective enforcement tool that makes it possible to streamline the law enforcement process and make it more difficult for offenders to establish facts on the ground by abusing the judicial process.

After the “Removal of New Structures” order was enacted, left-wing organizations petitioned the High Court of Justice to strike it down, but their petition was rejected and the High Court approved the order’s use. Nonetheless, to this day the state has made minimal use of this order, despite the fact that it has proven to be the most efficient and effective tool in the fight against illegal construction.

In the petition filed by Regavim Movement and the Samaria Regional Council, attorneys Avi Segal and Yael Cinnamon requested that the High Court order the authorities to apply the “Order for Removal of New Structures” against the ongoing invasion of Khirbet Khurkosh.

Samaria Council Chairman Yossi Dagan said: “The Security Cabinet announced its intention to battle the PA’s annexation of Area C, and the time has come for the enforcement authorities to act accordingly – to approach the problem in a systematic fashion and to act systematically. We must stop the Palestinian Authority’s rampage, and tell them, loudly and clearly, who’s the boss.”

The joint petition stresses that “this case illustrates the PA’s systematic, well-financed and carefully-planned takeover of Area C, which seeks to shift the focal point of Palestinian development from Area B to Area C. The Palestinian Authority is establishing facts on the ground in order to tie Israel’s hands – both in terms of current security considerations and in terms of political leverage in strategic points in Area C. These one-sided facts on the ground will impact the opening positions for future negotiations, and the State of Israel must address them right now.”

An illegal structure built on Israeli state lands at the archaeological site of Khirbet Khurkosh
The squatters’ highway in April 2021

The Squatters’ Highway: How the PA connects illegal encampments in Area C to the villages of Area B

The Palestinian Authority has blazed a new illegal trail through the Jordan Valley, connecting the towns of Taysir and Tubas in Area B to its network of illegal outposts in Area C. Regavim: “The Palestinian Authority continues to carry out its masterplan for territorial contiguity in the Jordan Valley, and the State of Israel continues to allow it.”

In recent months, the Palestinian Authority has invested massive human and financial resources to create a new illegal road connecting the large Arab villages of Taysir and Tubas in eastern Samaria with the network of illegal outposts near the Jewish communities of Ro’i and Beqaot and the IDF bases of the Jordan Valley.

The Regavim Movement has been tracking, documenting and warning the authorities about the project for many months: The PA began work on the illegal “squatters’ highway” in Area C as early as November last year. Initially, paving materials were deposited in neat piles all along the route; now, only a few short months later, they have been steamrolled into a solid and smooth surface to accommodate vehicular traffic.

Regavim alerted the Civil Administration and other relevant authorities in the early stages of the project, demanding decisive enforcement action against the illegal activity and those responsible for it. Nonetheless, the PA has managed to steamroll and surface the entire roadway without interference, and if the current pace of “law enforcement” continues, there is every reason to believe that the road will soon be fully paved with asphalt.

The squatters’ highway in November 2020

“We warned the Civil Administration and the authorities, and appealed to them to take swift, active steps to prevent further progress of the work on the road, designed to support the illegal structures already on the ground and to link the scattered outposts into a network and connect them to the central villages of Area B, but they did nothing,” said Eitan Melet, Regavim’s Field Coordinator for Judea and Samaria.

“The Palestinian Authority is constantly working to create contiguity of Palestinian settlement; they aren’t standing around waiting for a Civil Administration inspector to show up and stop them. Either knowingly or unwittingly, the inaction of the enforcement authorities and the State of Israel is enabling the Palestinian Authority to achieve its vision of territorial contiguity and control in the Jordan Valley.”