Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are expressing outrage at the announcement of permits for Palestinian Authority Arab construction as a good will gesture to welcome President Joe Biden.
“This is a fatal blow to Jewish settlement and to Israeli democracy,” the Regavim watchdog nonprofit organization said.
As part of the package of “good will gestures” Israel is planning to make to the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government announced it will approve six masterplans for Palestinian Authority settlements in Israeli-controlled areas (Area C) in Judea and Samaria.
The package will include approval of hundreds of existing illegal structures, alongside territorial expansion of Arab settlements consisting of thousands of dunams.
The Arab village of Batir, located between Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood and Gush Etzion, will be granted a permit for no less than 518 illegal structures as well as expansion of the village by some 3,000 dunams – an area comparable in size to the city of Ariel.
The plan will leave only a slender corridor to Jerusalem available to residents of some Jewish communities in Gush Etzion and severely compromise the security of the Gush Etzion-Jerusalem Tunnel Road.
Another plan, in eastern Gush Etzion, will approve the expansion of the village of Kisan by 615 dunams, severely limiting access for Jewish communities of eastern Gush Etzion and restricting any possibility for future growth.
Similar plans for the village of Pakiks will cut off the Jewish community of Negohot in the South Hebron Hills area.
Approval of municipal masterplans (Tab”a) are also planned in the Binyamin and Samaria regions of Area C, including a plan that jeopardizes the very heart of Samaria, near Highway 5 between Ariel and Revava.
Another plan up for approval is in the town of Hizme, adjacent to Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood, where expansion by hundreds of dunams will bring the town even closer to Israel’s capital.
“This is a catastrophe that must be averted – immediately,” said Meir Deutsch, Director General of Regavim.
“Sa’ar, Shaked, Kahana, Elkin, Hendel, Orbach – you were elected on right-wing votes because you promised to protect the Jewish settlement enterprise. You handed Yair Lapid his seat in the Prime Minister’s office, and you are the reason Benny Gantz is Minister of Defense.
“It is your responsibility to block this insane plan to whitewash thousands of illegal structures that will cut off Jewish settlement blocs from Jerusalem and give permanence to the criminal Palestinian takeover of Area C.”