'The Americans don't like it'

Defense Minister says Israel is not coordinating Judea and Samaria construction with Trump Administration.

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Liberman and Ben Dahan
Liberman and Ben Dahan
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Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday revealed how relations between Jerusalem and Washington proceed in light of the construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

In a conversation with reporters in his office, Liberman said that Israel is not coordinating its policy on which construction projects are approved with the Trump Administration, even though the administration would like Israel to do so. During the Obama era, the White House issued a condemnation of all construction approved in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

The defense minister explained that thousands of housing units have been approved so far in 2017. When asked what the Trump Administration's position on the matter was, he said: "We are not coordinating and they do not like it, but this administration does not cause diplomatic incidents."

"At the beginning of the year I informed them what would happen throughout the year," Liberman said, adding that Israel does not inform the US before new construction projects are approved by the planning committees.

Liberman boasted of the thousands of building permits he issued in the 15 months since taking office, and stated that there is currently greater momentum in construction than there has been since 2000.

"From the beginning of 2017 up to now, 1,400 housing units have been approved for marketing, and another 3,400 have been approved for planning procedures. In addition, there are another 7,000 housing units that are ready to go for planning," he said.

The defense minister noted that he is working with his staff to regulate approximately 70 outposts in Judea and Samaria, and that he hopes that the community of Migron will be approved. Migron was destroyed five years ago, and the residents still have not received the promised alternative housing. Liberman also said that he is working to advance the 300 housing units in Beit El, which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also promised five years ago.

Liberman also stated that he had approved the granting of official status to the Jewish community in Hevron. The move will unite the Jewish residents in different parts of the city from a municipal perspective so that they will not have to rely on the Palestinian Authority's Hevron municipality, as as stipulated in the Hevron agreement of 1997.