Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has frozen a plan to build a new Palestinian Authority Arab city which would have taken away 2,000 dunams of Israeli land, the Ma’ariv daily reported on Tuesday.
Yaalon’s decision came a day after the same newspaper reported that the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria is working diligently on advanced plans for establishing a new PA city near Jericho.
Ma’ariv reported that Nu'aimah, as the city stands to be called, is intended to house tens of thousands of residents and that Israel will transfer close to 2,000 dunam (500 acres) of land from the Jordan Valley Regional Council to the PA for the ambitious project.
The Civil Administration claimed that the establishment of Nu'aimah will reduce the phenomenon of illegal construction by PA residents.
The move was met with anger by the Yesha Council, which responded to the report by calling it “the theater of the absurd."
"The state of Israel is advancing programs for thousands of dwelling units in Area C [which under Israeli security control] while there are wide sections of Areas A and B [under PA control] where they can be settled and they are stopping the tenders for building for Israeli settlement in Area C," said the Yesha Council.
Following the Ma’ariv report, the Yisrael Sheli (My Israel) movement asked its many supporters to contact Minister Yaalon via Facebook and demand that he halt the plans.
MK Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi), who heads a subcommittee of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee which deals with issues pertaining to Judea and Samaria, contacted Yaalon as well, asking for details about the project. According to Ma’ariv, Yaalon told Yogev that upon learning of the plan he ordered that it be immediately stopped.
An Israeli defense official confirmed the details, telling Ma’ariv that the Defense Minister is interested in learning the details of the plan and any consequences that may result from its application, and has asked that it be delayed until he can formulate a position on the issue.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon told Arutz Sheva on Monday that he is not aware of the plans for the new city, but said that he does not believe that the PA should be given any rewards so long as terrorism in Judea and Samaria and the PA’s incitement continue.
"What are they talking about? Giving a prize to the Palestinians today? I do not understand the logic behind it," he said.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of the Shavuot holiday in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)