With election in offing, Gantz to authorize 1,700 illegal settler homes

The move is the latest attempt to deal with the phenomenon of unauthorized settler homes, both in the West Bank settlements and in the outposts.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz visits the Negev Desert ahead the IDF intelligence directorate's proposed move to the Negev, July 6, 2020 (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz visits the Negev Desert ahead the IDF intelligence directorate's proposed move to the Negev, July 6, 2020
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz is working to retroactively authorize some 1,700 illegal settler homes amid continued talk of a possible fourth Israeli election.
The move is the latest attempt to deal with the phenomenon of unauthorized settler homes, both in the West Bank settlements and in the outposts.
Israeli legislation to retroactively legalize 4,000 settler homes including those built on private Palestinian property, was rejected as unconstitutional by the High Court of Justice.
Right-wing politicians and settler leaders have pressured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to find alternative methods to legalize that housing. The pressure to do so has grown now that there are only some ten weeks left of the Trump administration.
News of Gantz’s efforts together with that of Blue and White Minister in the Defense Ministry Michael Biton, was first reported by the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot and then confirmed for The Jerusalem Post.
Their legalization initiative deals only with those structures, some 1,700 out of the 4,000, initially built on land that had been considered state land and whose status was determined to be questionable only after construction. It’s in keeping with the suggestion by right-wing politicians, that Netanyahu must take action to solidify Israel’s hold on Area C, by separating out the issues for whom an easier solution exists, from those that are more difficult to resolve.
Yesha Council chairman David Elhayeni said that authorization of the homes was of primarily importance. He called on the Gantz to provide more manpower for the Civil Administration, which is chronically understaffed, so that it properly execute the needed bureaucracy to authorize the homes.
The left-wing group Peace Now accused Gantz of betraying his ideals, charging that, “there is no red line that this is man is unwilling to cross to score points in this evil government’s internal battles.”
Gantz is using this twilight period of the Trump administration to outdo Netanyahu on the Right, instead of helping the country’s citizens at a time when the country is in crisis, Peace Now charged.
“Those who betray theirs constituents betray their values,” Peace Now said, adding that in this case Gantz’s actions also legitimized a “land grab”  and “illegal construction” that only distanced the possibility for peace.
Efrat Council head Oded Revivi said that the Defense Ministry and Blue and White’s efforts were laudable, they were little more than a band-aid plastered over the larger issue.
He called on Netanyahu to authorize the 2012 Edmund Levy report which legitimizes settlement activity and provides a blueprint for the legalization of unauthorized homes.
Gantz’s support for the authorization of the homes, is part of a number of steps he has taken to bolster himself among right-wing voters.