Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday he has directed the Defense Ministry body responsible for authorizing West Bank construction to advance a plan for a new neighborhood in the Dolev settlement, near where a terror attack last week killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb.
“We will deepen our roots and strike at our enemies. We will continue to strengthen and develop [Israeli] settlement,” Netanyahu said in a statement announcing the directive for some 300 new homes.
Binyamin Regional Council chairman Yisrael Gantz told The Times of Israel that the project that Netanyahu ordered be advanced at the next meeting of the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee had already been set and could have been on the agenda regardless. The Defense Ministry body’s next session is not slated for another three months.
Last Friday, a terrorist bombing at a natural spring near Dolev killed Shnerb and wounded her father and brother.
Netanyahu has frequently heeded calls from right-wing MKs and settler leaders demanding further development of the Israeli presence beyond the Green Line in response to terror attacks.
Earlier this month, he vowed to push for Israeli sovereignty in “all parts” of the West Bank in response to the killing of 18-year-old Dvir Sorek outside the Migdal Oz settlement.
However, some more hawkish settler leaders have criticized the premier for announcing advancement of settlement construction plans that had already been in the works. Others have argued that making a point out of approvals after terror attacks implies that such building is less legitimate when no violence has proceeded it.
The right-wing Yamina party criticized Netanyahu’s announcement, saying he need not wait three months for the next Civil Administration meeting, but could order that the planning subcommittee be convened immediately.
“In light of [US President Donald] Trump’s announcement regarding the upcoming release of his ‘Deal of the Century,’ we hope that the timeline for the construction of 300 homes in Dolev will be shorter than the timeline for the 300 homes in Beit El,” the right-wing party said, knocking Netanyahu over a 2012 pledge for construction in the latter settlement which has yet to be actualized.
The Peace Now settlement watchdog blasted the move, but for different reasons, calling it “saddening that Netanyahu has adopted the morbid conception of the settler right that there is a payoff in the form of settlement expansion for the blood of terror victims.”
“This calculation cynically turns terrorism into a political tool to promote an ideological vision, without bringing the issue up for national debate on whether we want to forever control the West Bank at the cost of our democracy,” the group said.