Israeli Officials Not Happy with Plan to Build Palestinian Houses

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. (Photo: via Al Jazeera, Video grab)

A number of Israeli officials have called on the Israeli government to cancel a plan that would allow for the construction of 14,000 housing units for Palestinians in Area C — the 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli military control.

On Wednesday, reports emerged that the Israeli security cabinet had approved in late 2016 a plan to expand the municipal boundaries of the city of Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank into Area C, where Palestinians are essentially prohibited from building or developing without quasi-impossible to obtain Israeli permits.

However, right-wing Israeli leaders have called for the plan to be abandoned, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that he had not been aware of the extent of the plan when it was pushed forward by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The Times of Israel quoted a statement by the prime minister’s office as saying that Netanyahu “didn’t remember he had been presented with the fact that (the plan) would include 14,000 new apartments,” with a spokesperson implying to the Israeli newspaper that Lieberman had omitted the information when presenting the plan.

Meanwhile, Israeli news outlet Ynet quoted Israeli Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin on Sunday as saying that “the details that are being clarified regarding the cabinet’s decision regarding the building permits on the Qalqiliya issue appear to be a very serious blow, and reflect the reality of actions that are contrary to the declared policy of the government.”

The revelations of plans to expand Palestinian access in Area C came following an agreement made between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli officials, reportedly as a result of US President Donald Trump’s visit to the region last month, to rescind some of Israel’s control in Area C, as one of several steps aimed at easing the economic situation for Palestinians in the West Bank.

According to Palestinians and rights groups, Israel’s overall goal, both in its policies in Area C and Israel’s settlement enterprise, is to depopulate the land of its Palestinian residents and replace them with Jewish Israeli communities in order to manipulate population demographics in all of historic Palestine.

(Maan, PC, Social Media)

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