At a meeting of the security cabinet Monday, ministers discussed the establishment of a committee to establish criteria for the annexation of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, to Israel. The committee is being set up at the express request of Economics Minister Naftali Bennett. Bennett has proposed annexing all of Area C, where the large majority of Israelis in Judea and Samaria live.
The committee, to be made up of ministers, will discuss recent events in the region, including the establishment of the Fatah-Hamas unity government. In light of that development, the committee will discuss unilateral steps, such as annexation, that Israel can take.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid have both said that they would pull their parties (Hatnu'a and Yesh Atid) out of the government if any lands in Judea and Samaria are annexed. Speaking last week, Bennett said that he was not concerned over such threats. “Livni likes to attack me,” said Bennett in response to a question about her threat.
In addition to the annexation, the ministers authorized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to impose more sanctions on the PA government.
In response, Gush Etzion Regional Council head Davidi Perl said that “the natural response to the establishment of the Fatah-Hamas unity government would be the annexation of all Judea and Samaria, including the Jordan Valley. With that the annexation of Gush Etzion would be an excellent way to kick off the process. Gush Etzion is the cradle of the Jewish people and there is no reason in the world that this should not be done.”