Likud Minister calls to authorize new settlement outside Hebron

Gilad Erdan’s call comes as Likud politicians are jockeying to gain credibility among right-wing voters for their support of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The Asa’el outpost in the southern Hebron hills (photo credit: Courtesy)
The Asa’el outpost in the southern Hebron hills
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel’s cabinet must – as soon as possible – turn the outpost of Asa’el into a new West Bank settlement in the South Hebron Hills Region at this Sunday’s meeting, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said on Tuesday.
The Likud minister issued a challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to act immediately on the matter, as the election campaign kicks into gear, even though they are both members of the same party.
Erdan’s call comes as Likud politicians are jockeying to gain credibility among right wing voters for their support of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu is perceived as weak on issues relating to Judea and Samaria, to such an extent that even members of his own party are asking him to do more to set the record straight.
Erdan wrote a letter to Netanyahu on Tuesday urging him to approve Asa’el as a new settlement, explaining that such a move “would do justice to its residents.”

Erdan spoke of the outpost’s importance to Israel’s security in a letter he wrote to Netanyahu.
The community is strategically situated between the Gaza Strip and Hebron as well as between Palestinian communities in Judea and Samaria and the illegal Bedouin communities in the Negev, Erdan said.
There is no legal impediment to authorizing the settlement, said Erdan. He explained that work had already began on a layout plan for the community.
Government approval of a new settlement at the site was now needed for the work to be completed, he said.
The fledgling community of 60 families was first built in 2001 with NIS 150,000 shekels from the Ministry of Housing and Construction, according to data from the 2005 report on West Bank outposts. It is located outside the boundaries of the neighboring settlement of Shim’a.
The outpost was built without permits on land allocated by the World Zionist Organization’s settlement division, according to the report.
The authorization of new West Bank settlements was considered a diplomatic taboo before US President Donald Trump assumed office, whereas under the Obama Administration wanted to freeze such activity. Netanyahu did turn three outposts into settlements in 2012 during Obama’s tenure; Bruchin, Rechilim and Sansana.
Since President Donald Trump assumed office, Netanyahu approved and built the new settlement of Amichai in the Binyamin region of the West Bank, next to the Shiloh settlement.
He also approved the Gilad Farm outpost in the Samaria Region which became a new settlement, although the process has not advanced far beyond the vote.
The approval of Asa’el, would mark the creation of a third new settlement, under the Trump Administration. Asa’el is located outside the boundaries of the security barrier in an area of the West Bank that is presumed would be under Palestinian control in any final status agreement of a two-state solution.
The South Hebron Hills Regional Council has fought to ensure that its region would be included in Israel’s final border and has argued that its settlement plays a vital role in ensuring Israel’s security.
South Hebron Hills Regional Council head Yohai Damri welcomed Erdan’s call, explaining that its residents have lived there for 20 years without municipal services which they claim should be theirs by right.
Last week, France and the EU condemned Israeli settlement activity and argued that it undermines the viability of a two-state solution.