The Channel 2 news website reports that the security cabinet has decided to suspend the plan for expanding the Palestinian city of Qalqilya, despite the minister of defense's support for the plan. The security cabinet decided that the National Security Council and the Ministry of Defense would brief the ministers in depth about the particulars of the plan, and that nothing would go ahead before that.
Minister of Education and Habayit Hayehudi chairman MK Naftali Bennett today welcomed the suspension. He told Galei Tzahal (Army Radio), "The plan had the potential to double the population of Qalqilya, and make it a Palestinian metropolis along Highway 6. This is a very bad plan for security, and I'm very glad that we have stopped it. We have no national interest in establishing a huge city along Highway 6 - it's bad for Israel."
Bennett added that he supported expanding Palestinian cities in Areas A and B in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), but that "innumerable terrorist attacks have come from Qalqilya in the past year - the plan would have made life in Kfar Saba a hell."
Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant, a member of the security cabinet, who opposed the plan, said, "Palestinian continuity above the coastal plain is something that contravenes Israel's security interest. The plan is the right thing to do, but not above the coastal plain."
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, the most vocal among the plan's opponents among Jewish leaders in Judea and Samaria, welcomed the decision, adding, "I call on the prime minister to complete the process and completely remove this bizarre plan from the agenda. It's time to resume progress in construction in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on July 13, 2017
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