Minister Bezalel Smotrich
Minister Bezalel SmotrichYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Finance Minister and Minister in the Defense Ministry Bezalel Smotrich is demanding to prevent the demolition of structures near the village of Asael in the Hebron hills area.

In a letter to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, Smotrich wrote: "Yesterday, Sunday afternoon, a request to enforce building [restrictions] near the village of Asael was given for my approval. In light of the war that we are in, I announced that I do not authorize the enforcement."

The Minister noted that he was surprised to discover that the commanding officer of the IDF Central Command decided to go through with the demolition despite his decision. "This morning, I was notified that the commanding officer of the [Central] Command decided to classify the enforcement as a security need and that he intends to carry out the demolition without authorization of the Defense Minister. I ask to clarify that in accordance with the ministers' agreement, which was signed with the Chief of Staff's agreement, such a case will be brought to the ministers for a decision, and if the ministers disagree, it is to be brought to the Prime Minister for his decision."

"In accordance with what was agreed on, I instruct not to execute the enforcement until a discussion is held between the ministers and, if needed, with the Prime Minister," Smotrich concluded the letter, which was sent to the offices of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.