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Arab Villagers Block Road to Settlement Replacing Elonmoreh

Arab villagers blocked the road to Djebil Kebir yesterday, delaying the start of preparatory work on the new settlement that will replace Elon Moreh. The army removed the barriers and reportedly detained some Arabs from nearby Dir el-Hatab village. The Military Government refused to confirm that arrests had been made.

The Cabinet, at its weekly session yesterday, ordered an immediate start of work at Djebil Kebir so that the site will be ready to receive the Elon Moreh settlers when they are evacuated later this month. The road incident occurred when earthmoving equipment was brought in to broaden the access road to Djebil Kebir which is presently too narrow to accommodate the prefabricated structures that will house the new settlers. Local Arabs laid down three rows of roadblocks consisting of rocks and rubber tires which they set afire.

The residents of Dir el-Hatab said they would go to court to challenge the government’s claim that Djebil Kebir is State owned land. A similar appeal by Arabs from Rujeib village near Nablus resulted in the Supreme Court’s ruling on Oct. 22 that Elon Moreh was built illegally on seized Arab lands and must be removed. Cabinet Secretary Arye Noor stressed after yesterday’s session that the new settlement will be built without expropriating privately-owned land and without damaging private property.

The Elon Moreh settlers reportedly reluctantly agreed last week to accept the new site at Djebil Kebir. Yesterday they pointedly demonstrated complete lack of interest in the work at Djebil Kebir. Benny Katzover, spokesman for the settlers, insisted to reporters that Elon Moreh would never be moved. He reiterated the conditions demanded by the settlers, Including legislation that would bar the Israeli courts from challenging future Jewish settlements on Arab lands.

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