Goldknopf said that based on visits he had made there, “part of the solution to the housing crisis lies in these areas.
“Equally important, it is our duty to assist them in increasing their personal security, which is a guarantee for continued residence and development [in the West Bank],” Goldknopf said.
This comes after the UNGA vote
He spoke just two days after the UN General Assembly voted to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legality of settlement activity.
Over the weekend, US President Joe Biden warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his new government not to take steps to endanger a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. The Biden administration has in the past said settlement activity is harmful to the peace process.
The Yesha Council has long argued that further development of Area C of Judea and Samaria can resolve the national housing crisis.
International objection to settlement activity has constrained growth in the settlements, which is home to upwards of 465,400 Israelis, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
The growth rate in the area has been historically higher than the national rate of 1.8%, according to the CBS.
In 2009, when Netanyahu was also prime minister, the growth rate in the settlements stood at 5.5%, but it had dropped to 2.3% in 2020.
Last year, the growth rate in the settlements rose to 3%.
The new government’s policy guidelines prioritized development in the West Bank.
Tourism Minister Haim Katz (Likud), during his ministerial exchange ceremony, promised to promote tourism in Area C.
“We will invest in areas that may not have received sufficient support to date. For example, our local Tuscany in Judea and Samaria,” he said.