Tibi: Israel handing over land to expand other PA cities

Arab MK says decision to expand PA city of Qalqiliya also provides for growth in other PA cities including Jenin, Shechem, Ramallah, Hevron.

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MK Ahmed Tibi
MK Ahmed Tibi
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List), who once served as an aide to PLO arch-terrorist and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat, said Thursday that a recent decision by the cabinet to transfer Israeli-controlled lands in Area C to the PA was not limited to the city of Qalqiliya, but included expansions in a number of major PA-controlled towns across Judea and Samaria.

On Wednesday, a government plan to transfer land in Judea and Samaria from full Israeli control, Area C, to the Palestinian Authority was publicized, drawing criticism from right-wing members of the coalition. Wednesday’s report noted that the city of Qalqiliya, in western Samaria in close proximity to central Israeli cities like Kfar Saba, would receive 14,000 new housing units according to the proposal, doubling its size.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely blasted the decision, calling it lopsided and damaging to Jewish communities in the area.

“It cannot be that the Arabs of Qalqilya get so many extra points. The addition of thousands of housing units in Qalqilya without significant building in Samaria hurts Jewish settlement. The government must build in accordance with the need and, after long years of a freeze on building, the plans that have been approved are not enough.”

But on Thursday, MK Tibi claimed that the proposal included expansions not only for Qalqiliya, but for a number of other PA-controlled towns across Judea and Samaria.

“The decision which was shown to the Palestinian side more than a week ago talked about expansion not only in Qalqiliya, but also in Shechem, Jenin, Tulkarem, Ramallah, and Hevron,” Tibi told Army Radio.

MK Bezalel Smotrich accused the cabinet of rubber-stamping the plan.

“Even after talks with a number of cabinet members, no one there understood really what this was about. The members of the cabinet in the State of Israel don’t receive [background] material; they come to a cabinet meeting and a representative from the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT] comes and lays out a few papers.”








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