Sunday's government meeting in the Golan
Sunday's government meeting in the GolanKobi Gideon/GPO

A coalition lawmaker denounced the Israeli government’s meeting, held on the Golan Heights Sunday, and plans to double the number of Israelis living on the strategic plateau.

MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, a member of the far-left Meretz faction, lashed out at the government’s decision to hold its weekly meeting in the Golan, calling the move a “mistake”.

Zoabi went on to call the area, which Israel applied sovereignty over in 1981 – a move recognized by the US last year – ‘occupied territory’.

“In my opinion, the decision today to hold the meeting on the Golan Heights was a mistake,” Zoabi said Sunday night.

“The Golan Height’s status is that of occupied territory. The Golan Heights needs to be a part of any agreement and future negotiations, even if Syria currently is not in a situation which permits it.”

“That is my opinion and the opinion of the Meretz party,” Zoabi continued.

Two of Meretz’s three ministers – Nitzan Horowitz and Tamar Zandberg – took part in Sunday’s meeting in the Golan, while Isawei Freij did not.

During the meeting Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced a plans to establish new towns in the Golan Heights, while Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar (New Hope) said the government hoped to double the area’s population within five years.

"The goal is to encourage sustainable demographic growth in the Golan and Katzrin Regional Council localities with a goal of doubling the population within five years,” Sa’ar said.

“The move will include planning, marketing and development of residential housing units and development of supportive geographical growth, economic development to create employment and improve employment and diversifying jobs and improving the quality of life that will also contribute to attracting a new population to the Golan Heights: Education. Regional infrastructure. Personal security and more.”