Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon reportedly “responded positively” to plans presented by officials of the Binyamin region of Samaria that would authorize new communities in the area.
According to Boaz Gantz, Deputy Director of the Binyamin Regional Council, Ya'alon saw plans for legal arrangements in Kida, Givat Assaf, Achiya, Esh Kodesh and Givat Harel – all located in the Binyamin region north of Jerusalem – and “his response to the plans were positive.”
Gantz said that Ya'alon told members of a Binyamin Regional Council accompanying the Defense Minister on a visit to the area Thursday that the legalization process for these new communities (dubbed “outposts” by the popular media) did not involve him.
“Ya'alon told us that he saw the continued building of communities in this region as essential to the future of the state,” said Gantz. “It was very important for us to hear him say this.”
Gantz claimed that Ya'alon was the reason there was a compromise at Givat Assaf several weeks ago, when residents dismantled structures in areas the High Court ruled that claims by residents that they purchased the land are unclear.
The compromise prevented damage to other stuctures whose legality is not in question, and also prevented potential unrest that could have caused other problems, Binyamin officials said. It is worth noting one family refused to agree to destroy their home, which was demolished by security forces.
Gantz did have some criticism for Ya'alon; a building freeze is in force in many Binyamin communities, he said.
“Many communities have plans for expansion, and they are stuck because the Defense Minister has not signed off on them. We brought this to his attention as well, and told him that construction must continue," said Gantz.
Earlier, Musa Cohen, head of the Kommemiyut organization which advocates for the rights of Judea and Samaria residents, told Arutz Sheva that "Ya'alon is acting against the interest of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria."
Cohen said "in essence, Yaalon's policies are no different than the ones of his Defense Ministry predecessor Ehud Barak. The main difference is that Yaalon was selected for this position because he was supposed to have different views than Barak.”