Yossi Dagan
Yossi Daganצילום: גור דותן

14,000 housing units for 50,000 Arab residents were approved for marketing in Area C, which is under full Israeli responsibility, for the city of Qalqiliya.

The move would double the size of the city, located in Area A, at the expense of land in Area C which was intended for Israeli development. The plan would bring the city and nearby Jewish communities far closer together.

At the same time, about 2,000 housing units for Jews were approved by the government a week ago in the entirety of Judea and Samaria. The Jewish population of Judea and Samaria is approximately 450,000.

It should be noted that this is a long-term outline - the implementation of which could take up to 35 years - and it has been waiting for about ten years for approval.

Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, slammed the move and called it a scandal.

At the time of the calculation of every housing unit with us, and when only 66 housing units have been approved by the Samaria Regional Council, the political echelon decides to grant the city of terror Qalqiliya the ultimate reward for terror: doubling the area and doubling the population."

"In the morning, we can say that we are doing everything for the settlement ,and in the evening [we act] to stop construction in the settlements and to promote Arab construction. We cannot allow the government to continue with this illusion.

The Regavim movement, which legally represents the nearby town of Tzofim, believes that the planned expansion of the city will bring it very close to the territory of the town.

"The proposed plan will severely harm the settlement of Tzofim, which will be effectively encircled by the Palestinian city," Regavim sayid

"The Palestinian proposal is a planning disaster, instead of approving the maximum urban construction height based on the existing plan, it allows for low construction on a huge area and unreasonably wastes land resources," they added.

The heads of the Knesset Land of Israel lobby, MKs MKs Yoav Kish and Bezalel Smotrich, said in response that "this is unreasonable and intolerable behavior that is taking place under the table and we will demand clarification [on the matter."

"The construction and allocation of extensive land to Palestinians in Area C, on the one hand, and the limited number of Israelis on the other, crosses the red line that a national government can afford," the heads of the lobby said.

The Prime Minister's Office responded by saying that "this is a plan that was brought in by the defense minister last year and approved by the cabinet, and since then, more than 10,000 housing units have been approved for Jewish settlement, and therefore the claim [that the move was taken at the expense of Jewish residents] is incorrect and even absurd."