The Israeli army says it ordered work stopped on the RallyCross track, but settler officials are singing a different — and defiant — tune. Several Palestinian communities in the same firing zone have been displaced by the military in recent years.
Israeli authorities have been laying the groundwork for a state-of-the-art RallyCross race track, in what they say is a response to the growing demand for motor sport recreational facilities and areas. The only problem? The track being built is partially inside an IDF live firing zone in the occupied West Bank — a designation Israeli military authorities often use to displace local Palestinian populations.
The RallyCross (timed, largely off-road automobile racing) track is being constructed just north of the settlement Petza’el in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank, on a large tract of land near Wadi al-Ahmar and Route 505. According to Micky Yohai, a veteran Israeli racer who is behind the project, the 1.2 kilometer long track was supposed to be ready by May 2016. Ultimately, the track is supposed to include a motocross track, a drag strip, and a 3.2 kilometer paved track.
In an interview with Ynet last year [Hebrew], Yohai said the project would begin with a dirt track — the first sign of success of a two-year process with the Jordan Valley Regional Council, headed by David Alhayani, who “is strongly pushing the issue.”
Although Israel rules the West Bank under military law due to its status as occupied territory, Israeli settlers have nevertheless established limited civilian local government institutions, nearly identical to those inside Israel proper, although they are ultimately subordinate to the military government.
Alhayani declined to answer +972 Magazine’s questions on the matter, although last year he told Ynet that the track would provide athletes with the ideal place to race, making no mention of the fact that it would run through an IDF training zone.
“When I say there will be a track in the Jordan Valley, there will be a track in the Jordan Valley,” he continued. “We are going full power on this project … We must not forget that we have an advantage, since we fully cooperate with the police and the army.”
The Israeli army’s Civil Administration, which serves as the military government in the West Bank, told +972 Magazine that it had issued stop-work against the track, and acknowledged that the facility was being built illegally. The decision whether to...Read More