Far-right party to make key West Bank appointments as part of coalition deal

Bezalel Smotrich's faction will be able to give final approval of construction and demolition of homes, making him a key maker in dealing with Palestinians and Israelis living in West Bank settlements

i24NEWS, Ynet|
Far-right Religious Zionist Party party received considerable authority over the Israeli government's civilian activities in the West Bank, according to a partial coalition agreement published on Monday.
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  • The deal reached between the incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leader of Religious Zionist Bezalel Smotrich will see the faction influencing the appointment of key officials as well the final approval of construction and demolition of houses in a majority of the territory.
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    בצלאל סמוטריץ'
    בצלאל סמוטריץ'
    Religious Zionist Chairman Bezalel Smotrich
    (Photo: Avi Mualem)
    The agreement, however, requires that the minister appointed to this post, which will likely be taken by Smotrich himself, will act in coordination with the next prime minister and will need his approval.
    The future minister will play a key role in dealing with Palestinians and Israeli residents of West Bank settlements. In particular, he will have the power to appoint the heads of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and of the Israeli Civil Administration, responsible for the government's civil policy in the West Bank.
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    Benjamin Netanyahu
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    These posts are usually attributed by the Chief of Staff of the Israeli military (IDF), with the approval of the defense minister. A number of former Israeli politicians and senior IDF officers have spoken out against the deal, which gives Smotrich sweeping powers over Israeli settlements and daily Palestinian life.
    Religious Zionism will also take control of the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, and Settlements Ministry united in the new National Missions Ministry, and the Constitutional Committee of the Knesset and a committee in charge of the projects of infrastructure and reforms.
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