Ofir Sofer
Ofir SoferHillel Maeir and Or Alexenberg

The secretary-general of the National Union party, Ofir Sofer, on Thursday criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the plan to build 14,000 housing units in Qalqiliya, at the expense of Area C.

"In the years when Obama served as president of the supposedly free world, we had to live with the construction freeze, but now that there's a new president, it is inconceivable that the freeze is not only continuing, but land belonging to the State of Israel is handed out to the Palestinians," said Sofer.

"If commentators and journalists are trying to find the legacy left behind by Netanyahu, there it is right in front of them - the establishment of a Palestinian state within Area C and not only in Areas A and B,” he added.

On Wednesday, it was announced that 14,000 housing units for 50,000 Arab residents were approved for construction in Area C, which is under full Israeli responsibility, for the city of Qalqilya.

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.

The plan was blasted on Thursday by nationalist lawmakers, including deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud).

"It is unacceptable that the Arabs of Qalqiliya have more rights [than Jewish residents]. The addition of thousands of housing units in Qalqiliya without significant construction in Samaria harms Jewish settlement. The government is committed to building according to the needs of the area and after the long years of the building freeze, the approved plans [for Jewish construction] are insufficient,” she said.