Shai Alon
Shai Alon Haim Tuitto

Shai Alon, head of the Beit El Regional Council, has sharply condemned government ministers ahead of Sunday's planned demonstration, in which heads of regional councils across Judea and Samaria intend to participate.

The demonstration will be held outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, protesting the fact that the Supreme Planning Committee which authorizes building projects in Judea Samaria has yet to meet, amounting to a de facto construction freeze.

"We are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past," Alon said. "We're not going to wait for the soldiers to arrive at the entrances to our communities before taking action to prevent the next Disengagement. They're turning Beit El into an isolated enclave by preventing expansion here and by leaving us with a single access road that they refuse to widen or improve in order to meet our needs. We are being treated as second-class citizens, subject to the whims of each and every government minister, with no one in charge," he added.

"At the last meeting of the Planning Committee, they authorized 350 housing units for Beit El, but there's a military base sitting on that land and Defense Minister Benny Gantz has yet to move it to another location, making the authorizations meaningless. They're simply playing games with us," Alon said.

"The Prime Minister is preoccupied with holding onto his position; the Transportation Minister would rather meet with [PA head] Mahmoud Abbas than with us," he added. "Palestinian construction continues unabated, taking over more and more land, and meanwhile government ministers are prioritizing the Palestinians at our expense. Ramallah is controlling Jerusalem rather than the other way around."

Sunday's protest against the ongoing settlement freeze will mark the first time in the last 15 years that the Yesha Council has publicly called for the overthrow of a government on account of a settlement freeze.

Last Sunday, the heads of regional councils in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley canceled their planned meeting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue & White). In a statement to the Defense Minister's Office, the heads of the councils stated that they were not prepared to resign themselves to a situation in which construction in Judea and Samaria is not promoted.

"In recent years, a meeting has been held regularly every three months, enabling us to work in an orderly fashion. On the basis of the coalition agreements signed on the eve of the formation of the current government, it was agreed to maintain the status quo on political issues and government policy regarding the continuation of construction in the settlements," the council leaders wrote.

"Nevertheless, in the last year only one such meeting was held, with none of the approved plans advanced," they noted, telling Gantz that, "until a date for the next meeting is announced, we see no point in holding a meeting with you. If a date is set, we will be happy to come and discuss this and other issues."

The head of the Efrat Regional Council, Oded Revivi, whose name appeared in the announcement of the heads of the councils, denied any connection to it.

"A message was published in my name without my consent. I have always believed in dialogue, even with those who do not agree with me," Revivi said. "Boycotting a meeting does not advance settlement by even a single brick."