Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a memorial ceremony honoring the fallen of Israel's Six Day War in Latrun on Monday June 5, 2017..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised settler leaders that construction would not be limited to the blocs and that it could be based on their priority list, said Avi Ro’eh who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria.
He spoke after a meeting between Netanyahu and a large group of settler leaders that was held in the Prime Minister’s Bureau in Jerusalem for the first time in over a year.
“The prime minister said very clearly, there is no issue with the blocs,” Ro’eh said as he explained that building could continue in all areas of Judea and Samaria irrespective of geography.
But it would be based on the restrictions created by the Security Cabinet, about how new structures would be placed first within existing neighborhoods and then only if necessary outside them.
The meeting comes as settlers leaders expressed frustration with the list of 2,336 new homes which the Higher Planning Council of Judea and Samaria authorized or advanced in the last two days. This includes 839 homes that were authorized in the Ariel settlement and 459 that were advanced in Ma’aleh Adumim
They had expected that many more plans would be advanced and authorized.
While Ro’eh put a positive spin on the meeting, many other leaders walked away feeling as if their building needs would not be met.
Beitar Illit Mayor Meir Rubinstein said that Netanyahu’s planning policies were “choking” his city, explaining that the authorizations it has received in the last year do not keep pace with the needs of the Haredi population that makes up his city and that of Modiin Illit.
Both cities “have the highest growth rate in Judea and Samaria” and are among the most desirable places to live for the Haredi population, he said.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who has waned Netanyahu that he could be replaced if more building is not issued, said that he walked away from the meeting with a positive feeling.
But the test will come only through the results, he said.
Beit Aryeh Council head Avi Naim said he was expecting a massive surge in building in Judea and Samaria.
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman said he told Netanyahu that he was frustrated that no building was pushed forward or authorized in his region this week.
“I understand that there is international pressure to freeze building, but the prime minister has an obligation [to act according to] Israeli interests,” Ne’eman said.
As the meeting took place, Kibbutz Kfar Etzion in the Gush Etzion region held a cornerstone laying ceremony for a new neighborhood. The community also marked the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and their founding a year later.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who attended the ceremony, pledged that the government would approve more building in Gush Etzion and in Judea and Samaria as a whole.
Yesh Atid Party head Yair Lapid, who also attended the ceremony, said that Gush Etzion was in the Israeli consensus.
Although Yesh Atid is considered a centrist party, he struck a right wing tone when he said that “the sate of Israel has the right to determine its own borders based on its national interests.”
Right wing legislators are in the midst of a campaign to pressure the government to annex the Gush Etzion region. Israel assumes that this region will be part of its sovereign borders in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians for a two-state solution.
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