Netanyahu gives Smotrich broad powers over settlements, Palestinian construction

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Prime Minister-designated Benjamin Netanyahu has asked far-right leader Bezalel Smotrich to take control of Israeli settlements and Palestine in the West Bank as part of a coalition deal signed Wednesday between Smotrich’s religious Zionist party and Netanyahu’s Likud. gave broad powers over the construction of

Powers under Agreement Settlement and Open Lands Division of the Strong Civil Administration and Government Action Coordinator (COGAT) in the Territory The unit will be handed over to the Ministry of Defense-based Religious Zionist Minister, a party spokesman confirmed.

Channel 12 reported that the minister is likely to be Smotrich himself, who will likely take over the Treasury Department under an agreement, but said the party has yet to confirm.

This deliberate appointment will give Religious Zionism control over key aspects of civic life in the West Bank C, including the portion of civil administration that governs the construction of Israel and Palestine. The prospect of handing over such powers to religious Zionism has an agenda in favor of its annexation, criticized by some as tantamount to annexing the West Bank.

The deal, signed after a series of stalemate and marathon meetings, also gave Smotrich’s party a ministry of finance, additional ministries to handle unspecified “state tasks”, and influential positions to lead judicial reforms through the Knesset. give.

The inclusion of a religious Zionist minister as head of COGAT’s settlement operations has the potential to change the command structure of key forces. Instead of urging the Defense Minister to change, ministers must turn to the Minister for Religious Zionism in collaboration with Netanyahu.

A statement issued by the Likud party announcing the agreement said the minister would be “responsible for the settlement of Judea and Samaria”. The Likud statement confirmed that the Ministry of Defense’s Minister for Religious Zionism would work with Netanyahu.

Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with religious Zionist leader MK Bezalel Smotrich as party leaders pose for a group photo during the 25th Knesset swearing-in ceremony on November 15, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

In addition to demolishing unauthorized Palestinian buildings and controlling Jewish buildings in West Bank C District, Mr. Smotrich has also appointed Shas party leader Aliyeh, who will start in the interior minister and health ministry.・Serving as Minister of Finance in Deli and Rotation. The government passed a bill giving him a cabinet seat despite a suspended sentence for tax violations.

religious zionism Lawmaker Simcha Rothman, one of the architects of the party’s sweeping plan to cut off the judicial wing, said the Knesset’s influential Constitution, Law and Justice Act, a crucial stop to legislate judicial reforms. Appointed as chairman of the committee.

Smotrich’s hardline party will also receive a Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and a newly appointed Ministry of National Missions, whose responsibilities have yet to be detailed. Channel 12 reported that MP He Ofir Sofer will be in charge of Jewish immigration, while MK Orit Strock will head the Ministry of National Missions, which he may later move to another ministry.

Other areas of the agreement include “Jewish identity, education, law, reconciliation and society,” though Likud’s statement did not provide details.

When signing the deal, Likud Prime Minister Netanyahu said the deal was “another important step that brings us closer to establishing a national right-wing government that will care for all Israeli citizens.”

Mr Smotrich said the deal was a “historic step” towards the formation of a “Jewish, Zionist, State” government, reforming the judicial system, developing settlements and creating a “Jewish union in the spirit of religious Zionism.” It aims to strengthen a person’s identity,” he said.

“Together we will do a lot for the State of Israel and work hard for the citizens of Israel,” he added.

The Likud-Religious Zionism Pact is the third pact signed with the coalition, but not all the details are complete. The ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism have yet to reach an agreement with Likud.

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