Dozens of West Bank settlers arrived at Givat Eitam Friday morning to announce the resumption of the struggle for Jewish control over the area
Givat Eitam is a hilltop is located within the municipal boundaries of the Efrat settlement in Gush Etzion.
The march to the hilltop was organized by the Women in Green organization. The settlers were accompanied by IDF soldiers.
Settler gathering, Friday (Photo: Yair Altman)
In 2009 the Civil Administration rejected Palestinian appeals for control of the site and determined that the 1,700 dunams (420 acres) are state-owned. The Administration annexed the hilltop to the Efrat Municipality.
Since then, the Housing Ministry drafted a plan for 2,500 housing units at Givat Eitam, but construction has yet to begin, and the settlers claim that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is preventing it for political reasons.
"Of the 1,700 dunams that were annexed to Efrat, 300 (74 acres) are privately owned by Jews, who purchased the land before Israel's inception," said Efrat Deputy Council head Josh Adler. "I do not blame Barak for the fact that there is no construction in the West Bank and Efrat, because we did not expect anything else from him; I blame Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister we voted for. We expected him to continue the construction, and we got the exact opposite. He's even worse than (former Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert."
"We must tell the truth. It was Netanyahu who brought the construction moratorium on us. It did not happen in any other government. Not when Kadima or even Labor were the ruling parties. It's his private invention. He can't blame Barak. Netanyahu is the boss and he calls the shots," Adler said.
Rabbi Baruch Efrati told the marchers, "The torah instructs us to be settlers and defeat any other national entity that settled on this strip of land that was given to us. To observe this mitzvah it is not enough that we march up here and build without the government's authorization, it must be recognized by the Israeli government."
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