Bennett promises settler leaders building planning won’t be frozen

In Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s first meeting with the Yesha Council since he took office in May, the PM discussed building plans in settlements.

Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley heads of councils attend a press conference of the Yesha Council outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, August 12, 2021
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett promised not to freeze the advancement and approval of building plans for new West Bank Jewish homes, during a meeting with settler leaders on Thursday.
 
“It was a positive meeting,” said Yesha Council CEO Yigal Dilmoni, adding that the main goal was to set up a structure to allow for a good working relationship.
 
It was Bennett’s first meeting with the Yesha Council since he took office in May.
 
 
 
Bennett had once been the former Yesha Council director-general, but some settler leaders had complained that he had not taken the time to speak with them since taking office.
 
Yesha Council head David Elhayani was also at the meeting. He is a member of the New Hope Party, which is part of Bennett’s coalition.

 Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett holds a presss conference at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem on August 18, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett holds a presss conference at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem on August 18, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

 
Also present at the meeting were Amana director-general Zeev “Zambish” Hever and Yesha Council deputy-director general Matanya Shapira.
 
The Yesha Council had been concerned over the failure of the Civil Administration’s Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria to convene to advance building plans for the settlements.
 
The last time it met to advance any significant project was in January, prior to US President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
 
The planning council had been slated to meet last month, but the meeting was canceled at the last moment and has yet to be rescheduled.
 
Bennett has initially given his approval to advance plans for 2,223 homes. Settler leaders, however, said that there were 4,000 more that were ready to be advanced.
 
They asked Bennett to push forward all prepared plans for building projects in the settlements.
 
In the last few weeks, settler leaders have held protests outside Bennett’s office warning that he was “drying out the settlements.”
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