With Construction, Israeli Town Spreads Over Pre-1967 Border

Residents of Tzur Hadassah in the Judean Hills object to construction beyond the town’s boundary.

Construction work in the Judean Hills community of Tzur Hadassah has spread over the pre-1967 border.

In the eastern part of the community, which is under the auspices of the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council, extensive work has been underway to increase its size with the construction of a new neighborhood of 1,150 housing units. It has now emerged that some of the construction has spilled over the pre-1967 border (which is Tzur Hadassah’s boundary line) and have approached the lands of the village of Wadi Fukin in the West Bank.

Map of Tzur Hadassah and Palestinian village of Wadi Fukin

The situation was discovered by researcher Dror Etkes, who says that the work so far carried out across the pre-1967 border has added about 30 dunams (over seven acres) to Tzur Hadassah’s area.

The chairman of Tzur Hadassah’s town council, Shlomo Magnezi, said that the community has no desire to take land from anyone else. “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.”

Wadi Fukin is a small village wedged between the pre-1967 border and Tzur Hadassah and the large settlement of Betar Ilit. In 1948, sizable areas that were owned by residents of the village were left within Israel and expropriated as absentee property. Additional areas were confiscated for the construction of Betar Ilit. In August 2014, the state declared another approximately 1,748 dunams of the village land as state lands. The confiscation was among the punishments imposed by the government after the abduction and murder of three Jewish teens from nearby Gush Etzion.

“There are a few hundred dunams left between Tzur Hadassah and Wadi Fukin that can still be built on by Tzur Hadassah East,” Etkes said sarcastically.