'Why are Meretz, United Arab List in the same govt as Bennett?'

Fury on the Left at new housing tenders in Judea & Samaria.

Hezki Baruch ,

נפתלי בנט
נפתלי בנט
צילום: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

Following the government’s announcement that tenders are to be published for approximately 1,300 housing units in Judea and Samaria, the Meretz and Joint List parties have expressed their fury at the decision.

“This is a government headed by evildoers that is continuing with a policy of entrenching the occupation and violating international law,” said MK Samhi Abu Shehadeh, head of the Balad party. “We are not surprised at Bennett’s behavior, but the question is what Meretz and the United Arab List are doing sitting in the same government as him.”

MK Mossi Raz (Meretz) added, “Elkin has announced the marketing of another 1,300 housing units in the occupied territories. This government is ten degrees more to the right than the previous government. This settlement building beyond Israel’s borders damages the country.”

The Peace Now organization added that, “Another proof that this is not a government of change but rather a right-wing government on steroids. Its promise to maintain the status quo in state-policy terms has been shown to be yet another spin from the machinery put in place by Netanyahu. How distressing to see the right wing rejoicing and the supporters of two states for two people remaining silent. The Labor and Meretz parties should wake up and demand an end to this reckless building that damages the chances of a two-state solution being implemented in the future.”

Tenders for precisely 1,355 housing units were actually published by Construction and Planning Minister Zeev Elkin, following long months during which no tenders were publicized at all.

The towns affected include Ariel (729 units), Beit El (346), Elkana (102), Geva Binyamin (96), Emmanuel (57), and Karnei Shomron (22 units). “We promised to do this, and now we are keeping our promise,” said Elkin. “Strengthening and expanding the settlement of Judea and Samaria is vital in order to actualize the Zionist vision. Following a long period during which construction was frozen, I welcome the marketing of around 1,000 housing units, and I will continue to strengthen the settlement of Judea and Samaria.”

“Beit El is about to be transformed into a major city in the Binyamin region,” said Shai Alon, head of the Beit El council. “I want to thank Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Planning and Construction Minister Zeev Elkin, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, as well as our friends in the opposition who helped us to bring our plans to fruition.”

Next Wednesday, 3,144 housing units will be authorized in Judea and Samaria, as well as over a thousand Palestinian housing units, not including construction in Khirbet Bait Zakariyya, which will not go ahead at this stage, following protests by settlement leaders who argued that building in this area would harm the territorial contiguity between Rosh Tzurim and Alon Shvut.

This is the first time that the current government has authorized building in Judea and Samaria. The Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration was supposed to authorize around 2,000 units two weeks ago, but due to a strike by employees of the Civil Administration, the plans were delayed. Meanwhile, another 900 units were incorporated into the plans, which affect the towns of Revava (399 units), Kedumim (380 units), Elon Moreh (100), Givat Zeev (98), Omrim (86), Vered Yericho (45), Karnei Shomron (27), Alon Shvut (18) and Efrat (16).