Report: Majority of cabinet opposed to 'Qalqiliya Plan'

Samaria Council chief lobbies cabinet members to vote down plan to cede Israeli-controlled land to PA cities, says majority oppose proposal.

Ido Ben Porat,

Qalqiliya
Qalqiliya
FLASH90

Will Israel’s Security Cabinet back a controversial plan to transfer Israeli-controlled land in Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority, paving the way for massive expansions close to Israeli population centers?

Israel’s Security Cabinet will meet Wednesday to debate and vote on what’s being called the “Qalqiliya Plan”; a series of land transfers from Area C (full Israeli control) in Judea and Samaria to PA cities, facilitating the expansion of those cities.

The plan, which is being pushed by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) would also permit the construction of some 14,000 housing units in Qalqiliya, roughly doubling the size of the PA-controlled city.

But according to Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan, who has lobbied cabinet members to vote against the plan, a majority of the cabinet’s 11 members say they will not back the transfers.

“This terrible plan to double the size of Qalqiliya, which sits just two kilometers (1.25 miles) from Kfar Saba, at the expense of areas under full Israeli control, puts residents of Kfar Saba, Kochav Yair, the Sharon area and Samaria at risk and needs to be dropped from the [government] agenda,” said Dagan.

“We expect the government and cabinet ministers to take this absurd idea off the table. I respect the Defense Minister, but the role of a right-wing government is to build for the State of Israel, not to build up Qalqiliya. It looks like they’ve got their priorities mixed up.”

Qalqiliya, currently home to some 52,000 PA residents, would be expanded up to the 1949 armistice border – better known as the "Green Line" – bringing the city’s new boundaries to within meters of the pre-1967 frontier and Israel’s security fence.

Just over the "Green Line" lies Highway 6, the primary north-south traffic artery straddling the densely populated coastal plain. Across the "Green Line" from Qalqiliya lies the Israeli city of Kfar Saba, whose eastern border is less than one mile from Qalqiliya’s present boundaries.




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