Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday told his Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset faction in no uncertain terms that the Qalqilya plan, permitting a section of the Arab city to expand into Israel’s Area C, is on, 360 reported. Liberman stressed that construction plans for Qalqilya had been implemented, and an estimated 6,300 homes are being built alongside the fences of Israeli settlements – effectively choking their connection to Israel.
During the meeting, Liberman pointed to the map behind him and showed that the construction in Qalqilya is expected to remain within the fences of the city, emphasizing that these were “Area C parcels within the Qalqilya boundaries.”
The Defense Minister added that “6,300 houses will be built,” pointing out that “While 19 terrorists have come from Hebron, in the last wave only one ramming attempt came from Qalqilya. These are the sticks and carrots. The housing units are already being marketed, there is no room for debate.”
Speaking of the arrival of Donald Trump’s emissary to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, Liberman noted that “Greenblatt is coming to promote an agreement with the Palestinians, but I have my doubts when I look at the Palestinian Authority and its leader, and their refusal to condemn the murder of a policewoman –I ask, where is their good will? With such intentions it is doubtful whether it is possible to advance a [peace] process.”
On Wednesday, the cabinet is scheduled to discuss the plan to expand Qalqilya. Details of the plans which were published last month aroused outrage among rightwing ministers and MKs. Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister demanding that the cabinet be convened, arguing that “the Civil Administration is leading the political echelon by the nose.”
The Settler community has been critical of the Qalqilya plan, both for its danger to at least two Jewish communities nearby, and the fact that while the Arabs are receiving anywhere between six and fourteen thousand housing permits, Jews in Judea and Samaria are yet to receive their promised 2,000 housing units.