Israeli sources reported, Sunday, that the head of the Etzion Brigades of the Israeli army informed the Committee for a Jewish Shdemah that they intend to reoccupy the military camp that was evacuated by Israel in April 2006.Shidmah is the Jewish name that was given to Osh Ghrab military camp that was built on Palestinian lands. The land belongs to the residents of Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem.
After Israel evacuated the camp, the Beit Sahour Municipality transformed it into a public park, but this park was subject to repeated attacks by Jewish settlers.
Now, Israel wants to reoccupy the property, likely to build a new settlement.
Head of the Etzion Settlements Council, Shaul Goldstein, said that “it is good news that the army intends to reoccupy the property as the area could be transformed into a blooming settlement”, according to Goldstein.
He added that settler committees and Jewish groups must continue their activities in order to regain control over the camp and to “continue the work towards a Jewish Nablus, and a Jewish Jenin”. Both are Palestinian cities in the northern part of the West Bank.
Furthermore, the head of the Har Homa settlement (Jabal Abu Gheim), an illegal settlement build on top of a once green mountain owned by the Palestinian residents of Beit Sahour, said that it is essential to create a geographic link between “Har Homa” and Shidmah in order to prevent the Arabs from building homes and structures in the area.
The army also intends to build a military tower in the area.
Hani Hayek, Mayor of Beit Sahour, told the Maan News Agency that he believes it is unlikely that the army would reoccupy the park.
He added that the army evacuated the camp in April of 2006, but the soldiers are continuously present there as the settlers march to the site every Friday.
The Mayor further stated that reoccupying the area would be another sharp blow to the peace process and will generate a strong popular reaction.
Furthermore, Lawyer Farid al-Atrash stated that he appeared in an Israeli court Sunday as he is facing charges of “attacking an Israeli soldier in the camp in 2006”. He did not attack any soldier but was one of many residents forcefully dispersed by the army.
Al-Atrash stated that re-occupying the camp is in direct violation to international law and the Fourth Geneva Conventions.