'The gestures are not status-changing'

Diplomatic officials say the newest gestures to the PA do not harm Israel's interests.

Nitsan Keidar,

Cabinet meeting (archive)
Cabinet meeting (archive)
Flash 90

Diplomatic officials in Israel said on Sunday evening that the series of gestures to the Palestinian Authority (PA) approved by the Cabinet are "a gesture ahead of President Trump's visit that does not harm Israel's interests.”

“The measures are all in the economic-civil sphere. There are no security measures,” stressed the officials.

"The measures are not status-changing," the sources stressed. "Planning authority remains in the hands of Israel - existing construction, which in any case will not be demolished, has been approved."

The sources added that the Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration will convene at the beginning of next month.

The measures approved earlier on Sunday include extended opening hours at the Allenby Crossing, new industrial zones for the PA, and increased Palestinian Arab construction in Area C. Israel will determine the nature of the construction, be it agricultural, industrial or residential.

The Cabinet also approved the establishment of a committee for a period of three years that will promote the regulation of structures and outposts in Judea and Samaria. The team will include members of the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Defense and the Civil Administration.

The Ministers decided that a proposal would be submitted to the government within 21 days to define the roles of the committee, its composition and the manner of determining its work plan. The team will report to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense every three months on the progress of the discussions.

The measures were approved following a long Cabinet meeting, which lasted for more than five hours, and in which differences of opinion emerged between Jewish Home Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Bennett and Shaked expressed their opposition to the gestures, particularly plans to approve significantly more construction by Palestinian Authority residents in Area C – which is under Israeli security and civil administration.

The Jewish Home Ministers attempted to form a coalition that would have voted against the gestures, but failed to do so, as most of the ministers agreed that the measures in question would facilitate PA economic development that could help the region.


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