Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu..
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could gain political calm in his coalition by approving measures that would strengthen West Bank settlements, such as new roads, water projects and land-status investigations, according to a Channel 2 report Sunday night.
Neither the Prime Minister’s Office nor the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria would confirm the report.
Channel 2, however, posted a document on its website signed by cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit that listed topics under discussion in a meeting Netanyahu held last Thursday. It included the need for 12 new roads in Judea and Samaria, including one to improve access to Bruchin, a small community the government transformed from an illegal outpost into a settlement in 2012.
Discussions were held on a renovation project for the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and a new promenade in Gush Etzion to be named in memory of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah, the three teens kidnapped and killed in June by Hamas terrorists.
The document also mentioned the need to advance land-status investigations, with an eye toward approving outposts. An outpost on survey land cannot be authorized unless the property is reclassified as state land. An investigation is necessary for any reclassification.
Channel 2 said an agreement on these matters was under discussion so that Netanyahu could pacify the right-wing members of his coalition. Some of them, such as Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi), have warned that a lack of settlement activity was undermining the coalition.
The report further speculated that Netanyahu was set to approve 2,000 new housing units in the main West Bank settlement blocs.
Peace Now executive-director Yariv Oppenheimer accused Netanyahu of catering to Ariel and Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett at the expense of Israel’s international interests.
The international community has increasingly condemned Israeli settlement activity, which it considers illegal and harmful to any attempts to revive the peace process with the Palestinians.