Occupation expedites settlement process, gives Smotrich more authority
The Occupation's decision to give more power to the Finance Minister comes as the Civil Administration’s Higher Planning Council plans to discuss the advancement of constructing 4,500 settlement units.
The Occupation government announced its decision on Sunday to hasten the process of approving settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, in addition to giving Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, even more authority to approve new construction of settlement projects.
This comes as the Civil Administration’s Higher Planning Council is scheduled to discuss the advancement of constructing 4,500 settlement units next week, according to media reports, and this decision moves the power from Security Minister Yoav Gallant to Smotrich.
The mechanism, which allows the halt of construction and which has been in existence for the last 27 years will no longer be valid after this decision becomes ratified.
Smotrich stated in light of the decision: “The construction boom in the West Bank and throughout the country continues, exactly as we promised, and today we are taking another step to build thousands of units in the West Bank. The residents of the West Bank settlements are no longer second-class citizens.”
Following the announcement, the Secretary General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization Hussein Al-Sheikh, posted on Twitter: "The Israeli Finance Minister's authorization to approve settlements is a dangerous step towards completing the annexation of the West Bank.”
After the decision of the #Israeli government to accelerate the stages of settlement growth in the West Bank, and to authorize its Minister of Finance, Smotrich, to ratify this. We decided to boycott the meeting of the Joint Economic Committee #JEC between the two parties, which… https://t.co/Me9egi9b3t— حسين الشيخ Hussein AlSheikh (@HusseinSheikhpl) June 18, 2023
This follows a controversial debate over a new, contentious construction plan for a region close to the occupied city of Al-Quds known as "E1," whose implementation would essentially divide the occupied West Bank into two halves, was postponed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The discussion at the Israeli Civil Administration Higher Planning Committee, which allows the "authority" to erect settlements in the occupied West Bank, was postponed, two high-ranking Israeli sources told the news website, adding that the Israeli occupation notified Washington of the decision.
The so-called E1 zone, located between occupied Al-Quds and the so-called "Ma'ale Adumim" settlement in the West Bank, has been under pressure from the US and the EU for decades.