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The Battle for Area C

Last year, the Political-Security Cabinet held a series of deliberations aimed at formulating a strategic response to the Palestinian takeover of Area C. Over the past year, Regavim’s activities on this issue were expanded to new include new approaches to the issue. We worked with the regional councils of Judea and Samaria to establish designated groups of residents, farmers, security personnel, military officers and civilian officials, to provide real-time reporting on illegal construction and agricultural activity as well as enforcement activity in the open spaces of Area C.

Our Legal Division opened dozens of new case files on construction offenses and land seizure projects, and we submitted 15 new petitions based on the ‘field intelligence reports’ we received from these local operatives. This intensive activity resulted in vastly increased enforcement, measured in hundreds of percent: Each month, engineering and excavation machinery was impounded in dozens of cases, and illegal activities were halted in dozens more. On a parallel track, we convened follow-up hearings in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and in the Knesset plenum. We also established a forum of municipal land-protection coordinators in order to facilitate greater cooperation and formulation of shared operational objectives and procedures, and provided professional training in GIS software, a key tool for field observation and monitoring. In recent months, the Ministry of Settlement Affairs, headed by Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, began to take an active role, which we hope will bolster our efforts to win the battle for Area C. Because the State of Israel’s official response to this serious threat is still desperately insufficient in terms of resource and manpower allocation, Regavim’s activities, which combine an effective presence on the ground with relentless political pressure, continue to attempt to raise awareness and fill the void.