View from Herodium on Ma'ale Rehav'am
|District||Judea and Samaria Area|
|Website||Maaleh Rehavam on the Gush Etzion website|
Ma'ale Rehav'am (Hebrew: מַעֲלֶה רְחַבְעָם), is an unauthorized Israeli settlement outpost in the West Bank, located south of Bethlehem and northeast of Hebron in the northeastern Judean Mountains on Road 3698 in the eastern Etzion bloc. Its mother community, the settlement of Nokdim is administrated by the Gush Etzion Regional Council, which lists Ma'ale Rehav'am as a separate "community" on its official website.
With assistance from Amana, Ma'ale Rehav'am was founded in 2001 after, and in reaction to, the assassination of Rehavam Zeevi for whom it is named, who was an ardent supporter of settlements in the occupied territories. Ma'ale Rehav'am was built on land that was declared state land belonging to Nokdim and originally zoned for that purpose. It is located inside an area designated as a nature preserve.
On 16 May 2006, Ma'ariv ran an article claiming that Ma'ale Rehav'am was built on private Palestinian land. Residents filed a suit for slander, and the Jerusalem court ruled on 25 June 2009 that Maariv had to publish a correction and compensate the residents with 1 000 shekels each.
As its mother settlement Nokdim, the small 'mixed' community of about thirty families (February 2013) stands out in that non-observant and religiously observant Jewish families live together. In general, while large Israeli towns and cities have heterogeneous populations, small communities usually are either homogeneous non-religious or religious. The community is based on the ecovillage model which has taken shape in olive and almond groves, a muscat grape vineyard, and an orchard growing thirty-five different fruit varieties. Most residents live in mobile homes, but there also are a few permanent structures.
The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. However, unauthorized outposts are illegal even under Israeli law. Ma'ale Rehav'am was among the outposts the Israeli government pledged to remove under the 2003 Road map for peace. According to IDF sources, demolition orders have been issued for most of the houses, but development has continued.
On 13 February 2013, six or nine, depending on the sources, mobile homes were torn down in Ma'ale Rehav'am before the High Court of Justice issued a temporary injunction forbidding the Israeli Civil Administration from demolishing homes in the outpost. In the riots following the demolition, several protesters were arrested. In a so-called "price tag" attack, the ancient Muslim Mamilla cemetery in west Jerusalem was vandalized the following day, apparently in retaliation over the demolitions in Ma'ale Rehav'am. In May 2014, the Israeli government decided to evacuate ten buildings in the settlement while giving Israeli authorization to the remainder.
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- Ma'ariv To Compensate Settlers With 20,000 Shekels CAMERA, 29 June 2009.
- Itamar Fleishman (13 February 2013). "IDF razes Gush Etzion homes; 4 families evicted". Ynetnews. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
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"Gov't Forces Destroying Caravan Homes at Ma'ale Rehavam". Arutz Sheva. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
"Court Puts Maaleh Rechavam Eviction on Hold". Hamodia. 17 February 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- Melanie Lidman (14 February 2013). "'Price tag' suspects vandalize Muslim cemetery". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- Chaim Levinson,'IDF to evacuate 28 buildings in West Bank settlements,' Haaretz 14 May 2014.
- Ma'ale Rehav'am on the Gush Etzion website
- Suzanne Goldenberg. "Sharon's 34 steps towards West Bank domination". The Guardian. 20 March 2002
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