Israel has launched a campaign to reclaim land in Judea and Samaria that is under full Israeli control and which the Arabs are trying to take over through illegal construction.
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
Speaking at the Kohelet Forum in Jerusalem, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced that Israel is “embarking on a real campaign for the future of the Israeli territory.”
He was referring to Area C, which is under full Israeli control as stipulated by the Oslo Accords.
As part of the campaign, Bennett intends to appoint an administrator to oversee its successful execution.
“We are not in the United Nations, we are the State of Israel and our political interest is to seize and settle Israeli territory,” he stated.
Israel’s goal is that within a decade, millions of Israeli citizens will reside in Judea and Samaria, and within a short time Israel will declare sovereignty over the entire Area C, he said.
“This is the mission of the coming government: to break through and apply sovereignty over Greater Jerusalem, Ma’aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Givat Ze’ev, the Jordan Valley and everything in the middle,” he stated.
Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayeh recently announced that the PA would disregard the boundaries between Area C and those controlled by the PA and would build freely in Area C.
He is acting on the Fayyad Plan, formulated in 2009 by then-PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad, who laid out the Plan for the Creation of the State of Palestine, a methodical program for seizing control of territory in Area C to form a broad and viable basis for a Palestinian state, specifically in the areas under Israeli control.
Fayyad’s plan essentially bypasses all negotiation or compromise with Israel and creates facts on the ground.
According to data collected by Regavim, which monitors and pursues litigation against illegal Arab construction, in 2009 the number of illegal Arab structures in Area C stood at 29,784, while in 2018 the number surged to 58,435.
Bennett recently threatened to demolish any illegal Arab construction in Area C, even if it was funded by the European Union.
In response to an inquiry on the issue by TPS, a senior official in the Defense Ministry stated that the “phenomenon of illegal Palestinian construction in Area C is one of the main issues that Defense Minister Bennett is dealing with, and he has already begun to work to eradicate the phenomenon.”
The official added that “a number of discussions took place on the subject and Bennett is monitoring the progress in person.”
At his meeting with EU ambassadors last month, Bennet told the ambassadors that the “illegal construction” they are financing “would be destroyed by Israel,” making it clear that “his position on the issue was unequivocal.”
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