While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington to launch direct peace talks with the Palestinians, tensions are mounting in the West Bank, following Tuesday's deadly shooting attack that killed four Israelis.
Around 6 pm on Wednesday, right-wing activists began building a number of structures throughout the West Bank – one of them located at Hill 16, at the entrance to Kiyat Arba – not far from where Tuesday's attack took place.
Some 200 settlers were present at the scene while Rabbi Dov Lior laid down the foundations for a new structure.
Palestinian landowners residing nearby said the settlers brought a water tank, sand, and equipment along with them, and expressed concern that they build an outpost on their property.
Rabbi Dov Lior on Hill 16 (Photo: Kiryat Arba-Hebron Regional Council)
"A short time before the break fast meal, we heard the settlers outside taking down water, sand, and equipment," Atta Abu Jabr told Ynet.
Abu Jabr said the settlers were apparently sent by the Kiryat Arba Municipality. "They were just meters away from my house. Even closer than them were the soldiers. I shouted at the soldiers to push them off my land. The only thing the soldiers had to say to me is to go inside the house and turn off the light," he reported.
Abu Jabr was concerned that he would wake up to a vastly different reality in which he would find himself sharing his home and his land with a settler outpost.
'Proper Zionist response'In a separate event, settlers placed the cornerstone of a new community center in the settlement of Adam, north east of Jerusalem. The ceremony was attended by community leaders from the surrounding area and Yesha Council Director-General Naftali Bennett.
Further to the north, at the settlement of Kedumim, a tractor began preparing the ground for a new kindergarten. The event was attended by some 200 local residents, both young and old, who came to offer their support.
"It is the proper Zionist response to the attack," Kedumim Regional Council head Hananel Durani told Ynet. "Soon, the construction teams will arrive," he declared.
A Yesha Council official stressed that the measures being taken were not acts of protest, but rather an initial indication of amassive renewal of construction in the settlements.
The source added that construction was being resumed in "places that already obtained all the necessary construction permits, and were only delayed due to the freeze."
Ali Waked contributed to this report
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