This past Sunday, PM Netanyahu’s security cabinet passed a series of new concessions to the Palestinian Authority ahead of President Trump’s visit in order to show Trump that Netanyahu is serious about peace.
The goodwill gestures were not initially revealed to the public, and are now coming to light.
Eight of the ten cabinet ministers voted in favor of all the concessions.
Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked voted against at least some of them
According to some reports at the time, the US Administration did not feel that Netanyahu offered enough with these gestures.
The gestures approved by the cabinet were:
- Easing passage out of the Palestinian Authority into pre-67 Israel, and enlarging the crossing station near Tulkarem.
- Expanding the hours of the Allenby Border Crossing with Jordan, to run 24/7.
- Constructing a new Industrial Zone in Tarkumiya, in Area C, which is land under full Israeli control, effectively converting parts of Area C into Area A.
- Granting the Palestinian Authority thousands of building permits in Area C to retroactively legalize illegally built Arab construction.
- To consider a plan to connect the city of Jenin to the Israeli train network.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) has come out strongly against the plan to create the Tarkumiya Industrial Zone in Area C, according to a report in Makor Rishon.
Tarkumiya is the crossing point in southern Hebron, north of Kiryat Gat.
According to the report, the Tarkumiya gesture will hand over thousands of dunams of land to the PA from Area C, which will be converted in Area A, right along the Green Line. A dunam is approximately a quarter-acre.
Furthermore, the industrial zone won’t even be a joint Jewish-Arab industrial zone as other industrial zones in Area C are, but will be exclusively for Palestinian Authority Arabs.
During the meeting, Bennett raised the point that the Palestinian Authority is actively trying to expand into Area C.
Bennett expressed surprised that the industrial zone had to be expanded into Area C, when there is plenty of open space in nearby Area B. Area B is under Palestinian Authority civilian control, and Israeli security control.
In addition, this zone is being built along the security fence, which Bennett says is a security risk.
Netanyahu reportedly responded to Bennett stating these were the steps needed to take in order to show Trump Israel’s good will towards peace and these gestures were the “lesser evil.”
The members of this cabinet are:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud),
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beyteinu),
Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud),
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi),
Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon (Kulanu),
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas),
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud),
Jerusalem Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud),
Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehuydi) and
Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu).
Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked voted against the Tarkumiya land transfer.