Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Sunday that the government would authorize the Havat Gilad outpost as a new settlement in the Samaria region of the West Bank at its February 4 meeting.
It would mark the fourth time since Netanyahu took office in 2009 that his government transformed an existing outpost into a new settlement. In 2012, the government voted to authorize three outposts as new settlements: Bruchin, Rehalim and Sansana.
Last year, the government also created the first entirely new settlement in over 20 years, called Amihai.
The call to authorize Havat Gilad outpost came in the aftermath of the January 9 terrorist attack, in which outpost resident and father of six, Raziel Shevach, 32, was shot to death by Palestinians as he drove on a highway near his home in the Samaria region.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman initially said the outpost would be authorized and it was assumed the government would vote on it on January 21, the day that US Vice President Mike Pence landed in Israel.
But the issue was delayed, first by one week and now by two.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) attacked Netanyahu for not bringing the issue to a vote at Sunday’s weekly meeting.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has already authorized the move and there is no reason to delay, “but the prime minister, for reasons of his own, did not want to bring it up today,” Shaked told Army Radio.
The Likud said the Bayit Yehudi party was wellknown for attacking Netanyahu for failing to act on something, which it knows he will move on, just so they can claim credit for it.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said, “It must be clear to our enemies that this [the creation of a new settlement] is the price for terrorism.”
The outpost is named in memory of Gilad Zar, who was killed in that area in a shooting attack by Palestinians in 2001. Havat Gilad was built in 2002 on land partially owned by the Zar family.