Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announces that he has inked an agreement with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is also a minister in the Defense Ministry, regarding the division of powers between the latter two.
The statement from Netanyahu’s office doesn’t provide details on the arrangement. As part of their coalition deal, Netanyahu’s Likud party agreed to transfer control over the Civil Administration and Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories to Smotrich’s far-right Religious Zionism party.
According to a statement from Smotrich’s office, the deal will give him authority over most of the Civil Administration, such as the approval of settlement construction and enforcement against illegal construction in the West Bank, though the military will retain the power to demolish wildcat outposts “in case of security and irregular events.” The agreement will also allow Smotrich to appoint a deputy head of the Civil Administration, who will be a civilian official and wield the powers in his stead, but he will not be able to choose its leader or the commander of COGAT.
“We have a long way to go, but this is a day of celebration for residents of Judea and Samaria and the State of Israel,” Smotrich says, using the biblical names for the West Bank.