Photo Credit: Miriam Alster; Olivier Fitousi/Flash90
MK Mossi Raz (Meretz) vs. MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Otzma Yehudit).

After months of delay, the Lapid-Bennett government is expected to approve 3,144 housing units for Jews and 1,303 for Arabs in Area C next week. The construction permits were scheduled to be issued more than two months ago, for 2,223 units for Jews in the settlements and more than 800 for Arabs – all of them in the part of the liberated territories which is under complete Israeli control based on the Oslo accords. But the committee that issue construction permits in the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration refused to convene following a directive from the employees’ union not to hold the meeting, to protest their wages and employment conditions.

Two MKs responded with condemnations of the new move, one on the extreme left, MK Mossi Raz (Meretz), the other on the extreme-right, MK Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit). Which could mean the government is doing something right (and/or wrong).

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Raz issued a statement saying this is “a decision on which there is no broad consensus in the government. It harms the Israeli interest and the chance for a secure future for all residents of the country.”

Don’t be so sure about the broad consensus – Yamina, New Hope, Israel Beiteinu, and some in Yesh Atid support the settlement enterprise. And Meretz, Labor, and Ra’am surely support the part about hones for Area C Arabs.

MK Ben-Gvir said: “Shame, the Israeli government with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood, continues to be the executive arm of the Palestinians and approves construction for them in the territories of Judea and Samaria.” He called on Prime Minister Bennett: “Get it together. The Israeli flag is in danger, do not give them territory where they’ll fly the Palestinian flag, do not give Hamas power to rule, so we won’t weep for generations because of the bankruptcy of the government and it would be too late.”

Ben-Gvir is right about the Arab construction decision being potentially dangerous, seeing as it would bolster Arab presence in an area that was designed to become part of Israel someday. On the other hand, the annexation plans for Area C, which range from turning it into a contiguous part of the State of Israel to merely imposing Israeli law in the settlements, often mention eventually giving Israeli citizenship to the estimated 80,000 Arabs who live in Area C, making the permits for Arab construction a necessary evil – they have housing needs.

The Bennett government—like its predecessor under Netanyahu—does not have the political will nor the public consensus to transfer those Arabs to Areas B and A. So, like it or not, those 1,303 will get new homes. Let’s find comfort in the fact that 3,144 will also be able to build their new homes in Judea and Samaria – barring a last-minute phone call from brother Joe in America.

By the way, even without the call from Washington, of the housing units that will be approved in the Jewish settlements only 1,800 will receive the final approval, while 1,344 will be promoted – but not be given their final approval.

As for the Arabs, most don’t really care about building permits from Bennett anyway.

See: Report: More than 3,000 New Homes to Be Approved for Construction in Judea and Samaria

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.