by Yoni Kemplinski
Former Defense Ministry adviser on settlement affairs says building projects receive approval more often now than under Obama Administration
Kobi ElirazAttorney Kobi Eliraz, the former Defense Ministry adviser on settlement affairs, responded to the promises to to apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and thinks the process should be slightly different.
"Sovereignty is an important matter - but complex. I ask my friends whether it is the whole territory or certain localities. If it is the whole area, I ask how to prevent a Jew from marrying a Palestinian and thus causing mass immigration so that 200,000 grow into a million. There are certainly good answers to that, but I think that we need governance before sovereignty," Eliraz said in an interview with Arutz Sheva.
Eliraz noted that the issue of governance and control over Area C is pressing.
"This is an open area of almost two million hectares. The actual settlement, even if we expand it, occupies 9% of this area. The Palestinian Authority aims to take control of this area. It operates a systematic and funded system by international organizations. About 200,000 Palestinians in Area C occupy 25 to 30 percent of the area," he said.
"The State of Israel must define that this is a national mission and give it the resources. The overriding ideat should be that Area C is an Israeli territory. The Palestinians are making a significant and systematic move in this area and we are not giving the right to this.
He said recent building permits issued for Arab residents in Area C were part of the answer. "It is also important to approve construction for the Palestinians, because the rule in life is that when as everything is forbidden - everything is permissible. We need to steer the Palestinians in our best interests. If we do not approve [construction] for them, when we want to demolish we will face hardships in the High Court."
Eliraz cited the case of the illegal village of Khan al Ahmar. "This is a very significant, principled and strategic issue. It is a flag for the Palestinians and it should also be a flag for us. There is unilateral involvement of the Palestinian Authority here, because long ago we could get along with the Bedouin. As the PA took control of the struggle, they made the Bedouin a tool to achieve their purpose is in Area C. I sincerely hope that the prime minister will meet his commitment on this issue."
Eliraz stated that he is optimistic despite the challenges. "There has been great welfare since the Trump administration. I was also been in office for two years during Obama's rule and there is a huge difference. Today most programs are approved. There are also complex issues by virtue of that we have no sovereignty, there is international law and international pressure, and in doing so, we must try our best."
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