A waterfall in the Ein Gedi nature reserve. (Zack Wajsgras/Flash90) Zack Wajsgras/Flash90

Israel’s Judea and Samaria region is preparing for the opening of seven new nature reserves and the expansion of 12 others.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

For the first time in 25 years since the signing if the Oslo Accords, the Israeli government approved new nature reserves and the expansion of 12 existing parks in Judea and Samaria in Area C, under full Israeli control.

Wednesday’s announcement directs the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria to advance the move, after years in which the government took no action one the issue.

Following the administrative procedure, the new reserves will be opened to the public by the Nature and Parks Authority.

Another ​​12 existing reserves will be expanded, including the Qumran Caves near the Dead Sea and the Sartaba in Samaria.

Notice will be given to the Palestinian Authority accordingly, the Defense Ministry stated.

“Today we are giving significant strengthening to the Land of Israel and are continuing to develop Jewish presence in Area C. By deeds, not by words,” Bennett stated.

He invited “all Israel’s citizens” to “come to Judea and Samaria, to travel, to discover and continue the Zionist enterprise.”

Bennett recently launched a campaign to reclaim land in Judea and Samaria that is under full Israeli control and which the Arabs are trying to take control of through illegal construction.

Speaking at the Kohelet Forum in Jerusalem last week, Bennett commented on a recent directive he issued reiterating Israel’s commitment to exert Israeli sovereignty over the areas under its exclusive control in Judea and Samaria.

To that end, Bennett recently threatened to demolish any illegal Arab construction in Area C, even if it was funded by the European Union.

At his meeting with EU ambassadors last month, Bennett told the ambassadors that “illegal construction in their financing would be destroyed by Israel” and made it clear that “his position on the issue was unequivocal.”

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