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IDF to authorize 800 Palestinian homes on Tuesday amid domestic furor

CM 16/08/2021

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The Civil Administration is set to debate controversial plans to authorize 863 homes in the West Bank’s Area C amid calls from the Israeli Right to cancel the hearing.
The move is perceived to be a nod to the Biden administration in an attempt to modify any angry response to Wednesday’s scheduled Civil Administration hearing on the advancement of plans for 2,223 settle homes.
The right-wing NGO Ad Kan called on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz as well as on Knesset members and cabinet ministers to cancel the meeting.

It warned that passage of the plans included authorizations for 863 homes in portions of Area C near the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem and Jenin.
Ad Kan warned that the approvals would have an “irreversible impact” on Palestinian control of Area C, which it, along with most of the Israeli Right and Bennett believe should be part of Israel’s final borders.
It urged Bennett, to “stop the Palestinian takeover of Area C.”
At a press conference in front of Bennett’s office on Sunday, Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Neeman warned that new formula existed for construction in the West Bank’s Area C by which one Palestinian home would be authorized for every two settler homes.
“For every two homes for Jews there must be one for the Arabs,” Neeman said.
“Now there is a matching game,” he said adding that he would not accept this new reality. The two issues should not be connected, he added.
Kedumim Council head Hananel Dorani agreed that Palestinians should be able to build, but the two issues should not be linked.
Of particular concern, he said, is the Palestinian push to control Area C. Why should the government help the Palestinians achieve that objective, he added.
The Defense Ministry did not directly answer the question of whether approval for Palestinian homes in Area C would now be a normative part of the advancement of settlement construction. Area C is under IDF military and civilian control.
In the past, approvals for Palestinian homes were rare, given that many in the former government believed that Area C should be reserved for future inclusion in Israel’s sovereign borders.
The Defense Ministry said that Defense Minister Benny Gantz would “allow construction for both Palestinians and Israelis” in the future according to Israel’s security and diplomatic interests” as well as legal considerations.
At the protest event, right-wing parliamentarians accused Bennett of “drying out” West Bank settlements.
“Enough is enough,” Mateh Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Gantz said. He was upset, in particular, with the decision to cut the number of plans that would have been debated by the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria on Wednesday by 39%, approximately by 1,400 units.
The Binyamin region was particularly hard hit by the decision. Of the plans for 2,223 settler homes, only 14 units lay in the Binyamin Region.
“We will head out to battle from here,” Israel Gantz said.
“If I need to I will move my bureau and place it next to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem,” he said.
Separately, some parliamentarians called for the Knesset to convene during its summer break so that it could hold a special session on the matter.
But Meretz, which is a member of the government’s coalition argued that it was Wednesday’s meeting on new settlement construction that should be canceled.
MK Gaby Lasky(Meretz) said that approval of the plans was “contrary to the coalition agreement.” At issue here, she said, is not natural growth but rather the addition of housing units in isolated settlements with an eye to “deepening the occupation” and impairing the ability of Israelis and Palestinians to reach a final status agreement for two states.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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