Pressure on to Legalize Shomron Neighborhoods Before Trump Leaves Office

YERUSHALAYIM -
Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

While Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (Blue and White) took credit on Wednesday for shelving annexation, thus paving the way for normalization with the Gulf states, Likud ministers were blaming his party for thwarting the government’s plans for legalizing neighborhoods in Yehuda and Shomron.

Ashkenazi said that Blue and White was responsible for “changing the discourse” on annexation, which he asserted “opened up the window of opportunity for the peace deals [with Arab nations], and together we prevented any attempt for diplomatic and judicial adventurism.”

Likud’s Community Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said on Wednesday: “We are going to work very hard to convince the minister of defense [Benny Gantz] to bring a government decision with the prime minister” to legalize communities in Yehuda and Shomron.

“Hopefully, it will happen as soon as possible,” Hanegbi said, adding that the measure he has drafted will be applicable to 46 of the 70 outposts. Hanegbi made the remarks outside a protest tent the Yesha Council and Young Settlements Forum had erected outside Netanyahu’s Yerushalayim office, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch (Likud) said, “I know that the prime minister supports this and the one who is currently stopping it is Gantz. I call on Gantz to say – enough abuse of the [outpost] residents, there is no reason to refrain from acting. The time is now. Allow it to go to the government and it will pass. Thousands of people do not have to suffer because of political revenge.”

At stake is the problems these communities have in receiving standard utility services such as water and electricity, due to their illegal status.

Regional leaders are urging Netanyahu to act before the Biden inauguration on January 20, while President Donald Trump remains in power.

“We’re almost 20 days to Biden,” South Chevron Hills Regional Council head Yochai Damri said as he tapped his watch with his finger, the Post reported.