“We are making every effort to monitor and report the illegal activity, but with the support of the European Union, the PA continues to proceed,” said Yochai Damari, head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council.
The Palestinian Authority is behind an illegal tunnel that was dug near the Israeli communities of Telem and Adora on in the Mount Hebron area of Judea, Arutz 7 reported this week.
The PA claims that it dug “a water canal that would assist in the agricultural work carried out by Arab residents in the area.”
The area where the tunnel was dug is under Israeli jurisdiction, but the PA has been attempting to take over land in the area through various means, including paving roads, planting seedlings in rocky territory to lay claim to the land, and even building structures within the municipal boundaries of the Telem and Adora communities, the report said.
The office of Defense Minister Benny Gantz office refused to comment on the matter, and the defense ministry referred Arutz Sheva to COGAT, the Civil Administration that manages civil affairs in Judea and Samaria.
“The cases described are known to law enforcement officials. Enforcement activities against them will be carried out in accordance with our authority and procedures, as well as subject to priorities and operational considerations,” COGAT said in a statement.
Security sources stated that enforcement operations have already been carried out to remove 500 trees that were planted illegally as well as to demolish illegal buildings in Tarkumiya, on the north side of the city of Hebron.
A security source told Arutz 7 there was “great concern” about the tunnel, adding that he felt there is no doubt the tunnel is not meant to be a water canal and that its size suggests a different and more nefarious purpose.
For years, Hamas in Gaza has been erecting tunnels – discovered and destroyed by the IDF – in order to infiltrate Israel and commit acts of terror. Last year, the IDF destroyed six Hezbollah tunnels that ran from Lebanon into Israel.
“This is a scandal and a blatant lack of governance,” said Yochai Damari, head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council. “The Palestinians are building on state territory and Area C that were designated for Israeli construction as if there is no law and no justice.”
“We are making every effort to monitor and report the illegal activity, but with the support of the European Union, the PA continues to proceed. It cannot be that the residents of Har Hebron are suffocated and the State of Israel just stands aside.
“I call on the Minister of Defense to use the security forces and the Civil Administration to put an unequivocal end to this issue,” Damari said.