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Dispute over enforcing West Bank construction causes dissent in new coalition

Although the so-called “change government” appears set to be sworn in Sunday, unseating longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, last-minute disagreements about oversight of Palestinian construction in the West Bank’s Area C could reportedly undermine it.

Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett met Defense Minister Benny Gantz yesterday to discuss the matter, the Walla news site reports.

Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett (L) and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz meet in the Knesset on May 17, 2020. (Courtesy)

The report says the disagreement concerns a demand by Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party for the formation of a new body that will oversee the internationally sensitive matter of enforcement of alleged illegal construction by Palestinians in Area C — some 60 percent of the West Bank which is under full Israeli security and civil control according to the Oslo Accords.

Gantz objects to that, and reportedly told Bennett that the relevant passage in the coalition deal should be changed to say that the authority will remain with the Civil Administration, the military liaison to the Palestinians that belongs to the Defense Ministry, and that its personnel will be boosted as needed.

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