Middle East Monitor / December 20, 2019
The Israeli government is working to further clamp down on already restricted Palestinian construction in so-called “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, reported Israel Hayom.
The paper reported that Defence Minister Naftali Bennett is working to fight Palestinian development in the region of the West Bank which he, and other right-wing leaders, have declared their intention of ultimately annexing.
Israeli occupation authorities make it almost impossible for Palestinians to build “legally” in Area C – where Palestinians must obtain construction permits from Israel.
Now, Bennett has issued instructions to occupation authorities to intensify Israel’s crackdown.
According to Israel Hayom, Bennett has held several meetings in the past few weeks with senior officials within Israel’s occupation authorities, as the right-wing minister seeks a “total stop to illegal Palestinian construction within two years”.
In light of Israel’s discriminatory planning system, some European governments have provided modest funding to under-threat Palestinian communities, support that has infuriated Israel. For Israeli authorities, such Palestinian constructions constitutes an illegal “take over” of land.
The paper, which claims to have seen Bennett’s instructions to officials, says Israel’s plan has four elements: “operational, economic, legal, and PR”.
One shift, in “enforcement priorities”, will see demolitions “carried out in accordance with Israeli interests, prioritising illegal buildings next to roads or settlements.”
Bennett also reportedly “wants to take steps to stop the flow of European money” supporting Palestinian construction, with the minister telling officials: “We will no longer stand aside while the European Union builds political, illegal construction here”.