Settler activists claim area near Rawabi

Some 60 right-wingers tour site close to new, developing Palestinian city.

rawabi low quality 311 (photo credit: AP)
rawabi low quality 311
(photo credit: AP)
Some 60 right-wing activists took a stand at dawn Wednesday to stake a claim to a partially developed area close to the new Palestinian city of Rawabi, which is now under construction in the Binyamin Region.
According to one of the group leaders, Elad Meir, they went to an area close to Rawabi, which has structures that were partially built years ago and then abandoned. The Palestinian Authority had hoped to use the structures to house policemen.
These buildings are well-suited to help settlers begin a new community, which they will call Bear Zeit, Meir said.
Settlers came at dawn, prayed in one of the empty buildings, toured the area and left, according to Meir. The activists plan to return soon to populate the buildings, he said, but he would not elaborate as to when and how.
The activists, he said, object to Rawabi, which is likely to be home to 40,000 Palestinians, but do not feel that they can prevent its construction, as it is already under way.
Instead, he said, they want to make sure that territorial contiguity is not created between Rawabi and nearby Ramallah.
In addition, Meir said, they are concerned about plans for the roadleading to the city, which he said could involve turning some of Area Cover to the PA.
With the construction of Rawabi, the PA is creating a de facto state onthe ground, claimed Meir. They are doing so in the heart of a historicJewish area, where the patriarch Abraham once walked.
Their plans come at a time when the Defense Ministry has banned any newJewish construction in Judea and Samaria. The government has notauthorized new settlements in Judea and Samaria since the 1990s.