Settlers establish illegal outpost at abandoned West Bank military base

12 families move into Camp Gadi in Jordan Valley, belying assurances by local council that it has no intention to build community there

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Illustrative: An image showing the construction of a new West Bank outpost adjacent to the settlement of Adam, east of Ramallah on April 19, 2017. (Courtesy Peace Now)
Illustrative: An image showing the construction of a new West Bank outpost adjacent to the settlement of Adam, east of Ramallah on April 19, 2017. (Courtesy Peace Now)

A group of settlers have established an illegal outpost inside an abandoned military base in the Jordan Valley, the Haaretz daily reported on Sunday.

Earlier this month, the state informed the High Court of Justice that 12 families had moved into Camp Gadi, adjacent to the Masua settlement, and had begun renovating the buildings there.

The update from the state came in response to a 2017 petition filed by three left-wing activists warning the court that a group of settlers intended to establish an outpost at Camp Gadi.

The activists claimed to have come across social media posts referring to plans to establish a new community in the Jordan Valley and called on the state to send in security forces to prevent it.

After the court agreed to hear the initial petition, the Jordan Valley Regional Council — where the abandoned IDF base is located — informed the court in response that it had no intention of establishing an outpost at Camp Gadi.

While the left-wing activists subsequently agreed to drop their petition in light of this response, the court never got around to approving their request to drop it. Less than six months later, the state — still obliged to respond in accordance with the initial petition — updated the court that the settlers had in fact moved in to Camp Gadi as the activists had warned.

Signs currently posted at the fenced entrance to the camp show that the settlers plan to have the site house a pre-military academy in memory of IDF soldier Liel Gidoni, who was killed in the 2014 Gaza war.

While the land on which the military base sits is considered state land, a master plan is required to be submitted for approval before a new community can be established — which the settlers did not file.

Last month, the Civil Administration — the Defense Ministry body that authorizes West Bank construction — issued stop-work orders against the settlers.

The Jordan Valley Regional Council has said that it is not involved in the actions of the settlers. However, it has not acted to have them removed.

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