Saturday, February 22, 2020

(Israel Hayom) Israel’s Security Cabinet on Tuesday unanimously approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to grant 700 building permits to Palestinians in Area C of Judea and

Samaria, together with 6,000 permits for construction in neighboring Jewish towns.

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (National Union) and Education Minister Rafi Peretz (Jewish Home) both supported the plan. Smotrich and Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin demanded that the plan include a stipulation that Israel would plan the construction and not the Palestinian Authority.

The development comes just days before an expected visit to Jerusalem by a delegation of senior U.S. officials, led by senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt. The group is set to visit the Middle East in the coming days, with stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia. The delegation will also lobby for President Trump’s peace plan in Egypt and Jordan.

Senior government officials told Israel’s Kan News the plan is an “extremely sensitive” matter, but refused to comment on whether it is connected with the peace plan or Kushner’s upcoming visit.

Smotrich posted on Facebook that “For the first time, the State of Israel will determine in a clear and unmistakable manner that original inhabitants of the area will be able to build and develop only in places that don’t harm the settlement enterprise and security, and don’t create...a de facto Palestinian state. For the first time ever, the State of Israel will implement its sovereignty over the entire territory and take responsibility for what happens inside it. Gone are the days of construction plans pushed by the PA that serve its interests.”