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Netanyahu says coalition will combat ‘all illegal building’ in West Bank

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Security forces move in to evacuate an illegal settlement outpost established in the West Bank on January 20, 2023. (Courtesy)
Security forces move in to evacuate an illegal settlement outpost established in the West Bank on January 20, 2023. (Courtesy)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that his government will combat illegal building by both Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s comments come days after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered the evacuation of an illegal Israeli settlement with Netanyahu’s backing but in defiance of far-right Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich.

Smotrich, who is a minister in the Defense Ministry responsible for civilian affairs in the West Bank, claimed the outpost was his responsibility and ordered it not be touched.

“We’ll fight against Palestinian illegal building,” promises Netanyahu, adding that “it doesn’t mean that we’ll enable illegal Israeli building” in the West Bank’s Area C, which is under full Israeli control.

“What’s important to me is that all heads of the coalition agree upon this,” the premier adds, in comments seemingly directed at Smotrich.

Netanyahu is speaking at a meeting of his Likud party in the Knesset.

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