Mitzpe Yitzhar outpost 311.
(photo credit: (Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected on Monday all calls to reverse last
week’s cabinet decision that barred 70 West Bank settlements on the “national
priority” list from automatically receiving a new package of housing
At the Likud faction meeting Netanyahu acknowledged that the
initial government vote last week that approved a new package of financial
housing incentives for communities on the list had not been properly
An additional line, which pertained to Judea and Samaria
communities, had been “accidentally left out,” he said.
As a result,
after the weekly meeting, cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser held a telephone vote to
add in language, which stated that, “providing [housing] benefits to communities
in Judea and Samaria will be subject to a political decision.”
when the new priority list was drafted, Netanyahu’s government promised the US
that although settlements remained on the list, they were not eligible for
additional housing grants and incentives.
At that time, however, settlers
believed that an exception would be made for approved projects. Now they fear
they will never receive these incentives, even though the cabinet language
allows the funds to be granted with special permission.
Mayor Benny Kashriel, whose city was removed from the list in 2009, pleaded with
Netanyahu at the faction meeting to grant equal treatment to West Bank
settlements on the list.
MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) asked Netanyahu to
verify what the bottom line was, but later told The Jerusalem Post that she
found his answer confusing, in that he made all of last week’s events seem like
a simple technical matter.
“We need to check what he meant,” she
Earlier in the Knesset, settlement leaders and right-wing
politicians including Hotovely held an emergency meeting to discuss the
But although they issued a number of harsh-sounding comments
after the meeting, they fell short of presenting a concrete plan of action to
pressure the government to rescind its decision.
MK Uri Ariel (National
Union) said he feared that such steps against the settlements were trial
balloons, to test the resolve of Judea and Samaria residents.
that even if in the end, special exceptions are made for these communities, “we
are talking about a further statement [against the settlements] in a series of
statements that began with the Bar-Ilan speech [by Netanyahu in
“These statements degrade the status of these communities and
turn its residents into second class citizens,” Ariel added.
Ben-Ari (National Union) warned that Netanyahu eventually planned to sacrifice
Kashriel accused Likud MKs, excluding those in the room,
of not doing enough to support the settlements. He added that they issue
statements that sound strong but fail to follow through with
After the meeting, Karnei Shomron Council head Herzl Ben Ari said
he found the meeting and the prime minister’s actions, “very
“People voted for Netanyahu because they believed he would
support the Judea and Samaria communities,” he said. Instead Netanyahu is taking
actions that harm them, and the discriminatory nature of this decision set a
dangerous precedent, he added “The people who live in Karnei Shomron should have
the same rights as those who live everywhere else in the country,” he said.
“This leaves us very fearful.”