Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel’s Security Cabinet has reportedly spent the past two days mulling plans to build some 700 housing units for Palestinian Authority citizens, along with some 6,000 more housing units for Israeli citizens.

All of the residential projects are to be built in Israeli-controlled portions of Area C in Judea and Samaria. The Supreme Planning Committee for Settlement in Judea and Samaria is to review the plans for the Israeli residential units.

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Approval for the construction plans for the Jews must get the green light from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his role as Defense Minister.

But the approval for construction of the housing for the Palestinian Authority citizens this time around must also pass through Israeli hands – specifically, those of the Israeli government cabinet – a requirement which has not enacted for many years.

Because there was no agreement on the issue during the meeting on Sunday, a follow up meeting was held Monday, in which the ministers discussed not only the construction plans but also the current reality in which Palestinian Authority Arabs are already building in Area C, implementing the “Fayyad Plan” with which they are creating facts on the ground and producing and building a de facto Palestinian Authority state.

The Regavim NGO which has been monitoring this activity issued a response to the news that Netanyahu is considering approval for additional Arab construction in Area C:

“As the Palestinian Authority is actively carrying out an illegal takeover of Area C, we hope that this report is inaccurate and that the cabinet hearing did not focus on approving a plan that plays into the hands of Abbas, a plan that will serve as the silver platter on which he will be handed the terrorist state in the heart of Israel he has dreamed of establishing,” a spokesperson for Regavim said on Monday night.

“Every member of every Right-leaning party understands that the rampant illegal construction carried out by the Palestinian Authority in Area C poses a strategic and security threat to the State of Israel. Every Right-leaning member of Knesset should be taking steps to insure that this Arab takeover is halted immediately, through swift and efficient law enforcement. The only place for large-scale construction projects that serve the Arab sector in Judea and Samaria is the area under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction.”

Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman also issued response to the report, broadcast on Channel 11 by Israeli public broadcaster Kan evening news, that the prime minister had led a cabinet meeting to approve Arab construction in Area ‘C’ of Judea and Samaria.

“Since the Oslo disaster, Area C has been part of the Jewish homeland under full Israeli control,” Ne’eman said. “We expected and hoped naively that in the days of a “Right wing” government it would apply Israeli sovereignty to these areas and apply sovereignty throughout Judea and Samaria. To our astonishment we have witnessed the Arab theft of dunam after dunam, and the building of illegal structure after structure, and illegal house after house – funded by foreign elements, namely the European Union.

If tonight’s report is accurate and extensive Arab building is approved in Area C, while Jewish building projects have been stalled for years, and this is part of the American ‘peace plan,’ we expect our government to vociferously reject such an initiative,” Ne’eman continued.

“Mr. Prime Minister, please raise a ‘stop sign’ if this is the plan of our ‘great friends.’ We believe they will understand your immense concern.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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