Construction work in Tzur Hadassah, a community in the Judean Hills in Israel, has spread over the pre-1967 border, and residents object to it.
In the eastern part of Tzur Hadassah, which is protected by the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council, construction of a new neighborhood with 1,150 housing units has been underway to increase the size of the community. However, it was found that some parts of the project have spread over the pre-1967 border, approaching the lands of Wadi Fukin, a large settlement of Betar Ilit in the West Bank.
This was found out by researcher Dror Etkes, who stated that the construction work has spilled around more than seven acres of land to the other side of the border.
Expressing his opinion about this, Shlomo Magnezi, the chairman of Tzur Hadassah’s town council, said that the community has no desire of taking land from other people. He stated:
“Somebody apparently spread across a line that’s supposed to be there. If that happened we protest and want to pull back to the lines. We don’t want to hurt our neighbors from Wadi Fukin.”
In 1948, sizable areas that were owned by residents of Wadi Fukin were left within the country and expropriated as “absentee property”. In August 2014, the government declared another part of the village, approximately 432 acres of land, as “state lands” as punishment after the abduction and murder of Jewish teens in Gush Etzion.
This means that there is only little left for Wadi Fukin. Sarcastically commenting on this situation, Etkes stated, “There are a few hundred dunams left between Tzur Hadassah and Wadi Fukin that can still be built on by Tzur Hadassah East.”