Reuters Amir Cohen
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to prevent the army from pushing back housing and construction projects to Palestinians in Area C of the occupied West Bank.
Gantz also criticized the prime minister’s office’s direct contact with the Civil Administration in the West Bank, which represents those who overreach the role of the defense minister.
“At the start of a meeting on Palestinian building approvals this morning, officials from the prime minister’s office called the Civil Administration and asked them to stop the meeting,” Gantz said.
He added, “If the prime minister wants to raise objections, he knows my number.”
Gantz ignored the effort of Netanyahu’s office and instructed the officials to continue the session, saying, “I will not allow the prime minister’s office to override my authority. The activities of the (Supreme Planning) council are under the authority of the Defense Ministry. There are normal business procedures.”
Despite his strong statements, three Palestinian projects were removed from the agenda of the council meeting today, and when the participants asked why, they were told that it was apparently based on “instructions from the highest level.”
A few days ago, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced its approval of “a number of initial steps” for Palestinian construction projects in the West Bank, one day after Netanyahu instructed, today, Monday, to pay a project to build about 800 Israeli settlement housing units in the occupied West Bank.
Source: Israeli media