A senior settlement leader accused the Bennett government of effectively freezing construction in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, and of turning a blind eye to illegal Arab construction and land grabs in Israeli-administered territory.
Yisrael Gantz, chief of the Benjamin Regional Council, hosted a delegation from the Knesset’s Land of Israel Lobby during a tour of illegal Arab construction projects in the Benjamin district of Samaria on Tuesday.
Gantz said that the government was ignoring Arab land grabs across Area C – the 60% of Judea and Samaria under full Israeli administration – while granting virtually no building permits to Jews.
“I just can’t understand what Bennett said about there being ‘no annexation and no building freeze’. First of all, we need to talk about Israeli sovereignty, and if there isn’t any, then we need construction in Judea and Samaria, and we’ll judge that by actions not words. As of today, just 14 housing units have been approved for the Benjamin district out of 2,000, and that is a freeze.”
“Aside from the fact that we aren’t building in Judea and Samaria and we’re freezing the area, the other side is building quickly. There is the ‘Fayyad Plan’” – referring to the 2009 plan drawn up by then-Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad – “which is funded with almost a billion dollars per year and employs 650 workers.”
“State land is being taken over and there is no one on our side fighting for Area C. If we don’t wake up in time, we are liable to lose large parts of this beautiful country.”
“The government of Israel needs to govern, to protect the territory, to ensure that there is no hostile takeover of large swaths of land, as there is today. Additionally, we need to permit construction on state land, to expand the settlements as needed and we have plans that are ready that need to be approved immediately.”