Defense minister and Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett on Wednesday announced that he had ordered the establishment of a special team to immediately begin to apply Israeli sovereignty to all Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.
“We will give the prime minister full support for the [annexation] move,” Bennett said at the National Institute of National Security Research’s annual international conference.
According to Netanyahu on Tuesday, the annexation will be carried out in two phases: first, the PM will submit to the government’s approval at its upcoming meeting the decision to apply Israeli law to the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and other Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria; second, following administrative preparations in Israel, the application of Israeli law to additional territories will also be presented.
Bennett said the team to be set up would integrate all the administrative units in the IDF, the Civil Administration, COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), a number of relevant government ministries and the security apparatus.
“This is the biggest political opportunity that has come our way in 50 years,” the defense minister said, adding, “But an opportunity can pass if you don’t grab it and apply it. Yesterday, the prime minister’s circle announced that the decision to apply sovereignty would be brought this Sunday to a government vote. But this morning we hear a different tune. Government ministers explain to us that there’s administrative work pending, that the process must be coordinated with the Attorney General, that there’s a bureaucracy.”
“I’ll be clear,” Bennett stressed, “Whatever is postponed until after the election will never happen. We all understand that.”
Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) told Reshet Bet radio that the annexation of the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria “will not happen on Sunday for the simple reason that preparation work needs to be done. There is also the need to bring the proposal to the Attorney General and let him examine things. Our goal is to do it in the next few days, but right on Sunday, technically, we can’t.”
Levin attacked Bennett, saying, “It’s not difficult to sit over here in Israel and say to the Prime Minister, ‘Kol hakavod for what you received, we’ll accept it, but when it comes to the tough concessions, those we’ll resist and push an empty, populist move instead.”
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to secure the future of the settlement enterprise,” Levin said, “We can’t miss this opportunity.”
Channel 12 illustrated the immediate changes in the lives of settlement residents, should the Netanyahu cabinet annex their communities: relief in planning and paving roads that are currently direly missing in Area C; the ability to design and build modern infrastructure such as electricity, sewage and water; sane organization of construction procedures and the promise that there will be no more construction freeze; and the transfer of administrative powers from the Civil Administration to the local authorities, which will lead to their forging a better relationship with the government and the cutting of at least half the current red tape.
Minister Yariv Levin – get it done and a hundred thousand settlers will switch their vote to your party. I know this because many of them have been voting for you even when you didn’t do much to improve their lives…