Home Uncategorized Israeli official describes secret government bid to cement control of West Bank

Israeli official describes secret government bid to cement control of West Bank

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An influential member of PM Netanyahu‘s coalition told settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank that the govt is engaged in a stealthy effort to irreversibly change the way the territory is governed, to cement Israel’s control over it without being accused of formally annexing it. In a taped recording of the speech, Bezalel Smotrich can be heard suggesting that goal was to prevent West Bank from becoming part of a Palestinian state.
Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that Israel’s rule over the territory amounts to a temporary military occupation overseen by army generals, not a permanent civilian annexation administered by Israeli civil servants. Smotrich’s June 9 speech at a West Bank private gathering may make that posture harder to maintain.
In it, he outlined a carefully orchestrated programme to take authority over the West Bank out of the hands of the Israeli military and turn it over to civilians working for Smotrich in the defence ministry. Parts of the plan have already been introduced over the past 18 months, and some authorities have already been transferred to civilians.
To deflect international scrutiny, the govt has allowed the defence ministry to remain involved in the process, he said. “It will be easier to swallow in the international and legal context,” Smotrich said. “So that they won’t say that we are doing annexation here.”
Smotrich, a far-right lawmaker, said Netanyahu was “with us full on”.
Even as international pressure grows to declare a Palestinian state that would encompass the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Smotrich’s comments suggest that Israel is quietly working to firm up its control over the West Bank.





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