IDF hands over former West Bank base to Israeli settlers (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Gili Cohen 05/04/12)
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An abandoned Israel Defense Forces base in the West Bank has been
handed over to the control of a nearby settlement council, Haaretz
learned on Thursday.
The IDF base in Adoraim, once the home of the army´s Engineering
Corps training school, and a reserve base since the early 2000s, has
been deserted for the last two years.
However, in the last few weeks the South Hebron Hills regional
council has initiated extensive remodeling works on the base,
replacing doors, erecting drywall, and beginning work on a new
concrete fence meant to eventually enclose the entire compound.
It appears that the remodeling is geared at converting the structure
toward its new purpose, which is to serve as the council´s emergency
Since being deserted, the structure has been the center of a struggle
by local residents for a "Jewish Adoraim," with activists saying they
feared the abandoned structure could be seized by Palestinians.
In August 2010, Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the request by
the South Hebron Hills regional council, awarding it license to
rehabilitate the structure and make use of it.
A few months later, in January 2011, a contract was signed with the
Civil Administration, who limited the license to until 2016.
According to leading left-wing activist Dror Etkes, the agreement was
part of a past trend in which the army took over land in the West
Bank for security reasons, only to later pass it on to settlers.
"The ridiculous attempt to disguise the new outpost settlers from the
South Hebron Hills are forming at the heart of the West Bank, using
fire trucks and ambulances, is another expression of the settlers´
success to unequivocally harness the system for their needs," Etkes
Defense officials, however, stated that the license given does not
award the settlers the right to construct new structures.
The Defense Ministry said in response that it was "a lone structure
from the evacuated IDF base."
"The structure´s purpose is providing humanitarian aid to the general
population, Israeli and Palestinian alike, in fire fighting and
emergency services," the statement added. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz
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