Gantz accuses PM of trying to derail permit process for Palestinian construction

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of attempting to go behind his back to block his ministry’s approval of Palestinian construction projects.

Last week, Gantz announced plans to permit a number of Palestinian building projects in Area C, which makes up some 60 percent of the West Bank and is under full Israeli security and administrative control, through his ministry’s Civil Administration’s Planning and Licensing Subcommittee.

The Palestinian construction permits were approved by the subcommittee this morning.

According to Gantz’s office, members of Netanyahu’s office attempted to intervene to block the authorizations, reaching out directly to military officials on the subcommittee, in apparent contravention of rules requiring such communications to go through the defense minister.

“I will not allow the Prime Minister’s Office to circumvent [my] authorities. The activities of that subcommittee are under the auspices of the defense minister. There are operating procedures. It was decided last week to hold the meeting and there is no need to interfere with this proper process while it is being carried out,” Gantz says in a statement.

“If the prime minister wants to request an injunction, he knows my number,” he adds.

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