[creeping annexation] Israel seeks 5,000 new settlement units in West Bank

Al-Khalil-Hebron (Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  September 8, 2020

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz is seeking to approve 5,000 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank, local media revealed on Sunday.

According to the Israeli TV Channel 12, Gantz wants the High Planning Council to convene this week for the approval of the construction plans.

Therefore, he sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to convene the committee, which is the civil arm of the Defence Ministry in the occupied territories.

Chanel 12’s report did not cite sources, but pointed out that this massive plan, which would expand beyond the main settlement blocks, came about six months after the suspension of settlement construction.

Israeli monitors believe that Gantz is using this maneuver to embarrass Netanyahu as the High Planning Council has not convened for more than six months.

“If Netanyahu did not convene the High Planning Council, he would be blamed,” the TV report said.

Israel is expected to head to its fourth election in a little over two years as a result of increasing friction in the coalition government which has seen staunch rivals, Netanyahu and Gantz, agree to a power sharing deal.