Full responsibility for the Israeli occupation of Area C in the West Bank will be entrusted to the party of extremist religious Zionist settlers. The announcement, which contradicted previous promises by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shocked Palestinians in the West Bank and sparked harsh criticism in military circles.
The two powers The Israeli government administers Area C—61 percent of the West Bank—and is partly the coordinating unit, which sets the broad lines of Israel’s policy; Partly the civil administration, which implements the policy. These two institutions have so far been commanded by generals appointed by the OB.
But according to an agreement between Netanyahu and the leader of religious Zionism, Bezalel Smotrich, these two bodies will now be separated from the Ministry of Defense and headed by people appointed by Smotrich, who himself became Minister of Finance. Recently, the other day it became known that the United States protested against these plans, but then Netanyahu promised to maintain control over all sensitive elements.
Former military spokesman Gen. Ronen Manelis told Israel Radio:
– This is serious politicization. It can’t happen like this. If you want to turn the West Bank into a lawless or apartheid state, you have to legalize it – not hand over control of the country to extremists.
Daily life in Area C is an ongoing struggle over land between Israeli settlers and indigenous Palestinians for land and land rights. The most important task of the civil administration is the issuance or refusal of building permits, the demolition of illegal buildings, and the destruction of roads erected without permission. Even today, the authority’s actions have a clear pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian side. But the three ultra-nationalist parties affiliated with the new coalition all weather portray the civil administration as pro-Arab and unfair.
Kanaan Jamal, an activist and olive grower in the village of Asira in the northern West Bank, tells DN:
– This is very worrying for us. Today we have visits from extremist settlers who are trying to build roads between Palestinian villages and destroy our crops. I dare not think how they would act if they knew that the state was behind them.
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