Advancement of Palestinian building projects for Area C of the West Bank must receive Security Cabinet approval prior to any IDF debate on the matter, Community Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said on Friday.
He sent a letter on the issue to Alternative Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in advance of Sunday’s anticipated meeting of the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria.
The Council, which oversees Israeli and Palestinian construction in Area C, plans to debate Palestinian projects. Israeli approval for Palestinian building projects in Area C is rare and often sets off a storm of controversy among the Right, which believes that such projects might decide who will control Area C in the future. At present Area C is under IDF military and civilian control.
The Right fears that Palestinian building in Area C is part of a Palestinian Authority plan to retain as much control over Area C as possible.
“A review of some of the plans shows that the Security Cabinet may have rejected some of them in the past,” he said.
Of particular concern is a plan to expand the Palestinian villages of al-Wallaja and Hizma, both of which are near Jerusalem, Hanegbi said.
He called on Gantz to cancel the Higher Planning Council meeting on Palestinian building and to seek Security Cabinet approval prior to moving forward on the matter.
Separately on Sunday the Higher Planning Council, which is under the auspices of the IDF’s Civil Administration, was expected to advance plans for 800 housing units in West Bank settlements.