The Civil Administration registered to the Jewish National Fund 87.6 hectares (216 acres) in the Kfar Etzion area, thereby ending a 70-year acquisition process.
The land had previously been considered survey property whose land ownership status was unknown. It is located both within and immediately outside the lines of the Kfar Etzion settlement in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.
The land reclassification to the JNF subsidiary Himnuta expands the settlement boundaries, which will now include the area of the original Kfar Etzion Kibbutz, which was destroyed by the Arab Legion in the War of Independence.
The fall of the four Gush Etzion kibbutzim, and the Arab Legion massacre of 157 residents of the original Kfar Etzion, has become ensconced in the Zionist ideology and is one of the foundations for the Jewish return to Judea and Samaria in the last 50 years.
The modern Kfar Etzion was the first settlement to be established in the immediate aftermath of the Six Day War. The government’s official ceremony marking the end of the war will be held in Gush Etzion on September 27.
“This is a historic event,” said Kfar Etzion field school director Yaron Rosenthal.
“Fifty years after we returned to this hilltop, once again our prayer was heard, and all doubt has been removed that this hilltop was, and remains, in Jewish hands,” Rosenthal said.
JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar said the registration of the land will change the area’s landscape.
“Now the kibbutz will be able to make zoning changes to existing plans and begin new construction,” he said. The left-wing group Peace Now said in response, “We are disappointed to see the JNF’s continuous involvement in the settlement enterprise, which seeks to prevent the possibility for a two-state solution and risks the future of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”