According to Likud officials, the entire plan was a mistake. "This is a mistake, not even Netanyahu knew it was 14,000 units. The plan was not presented in its entirety," the officials said.
The decision was made in October 2016, during a cabinet meeting in which several Likud ministers, including Ze'ev Elkin, Gilad Erdan and Yisrael Katz were not present. The decision was made against the background of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's "carrot and stick" policy for the Palestinians.
At the time, activists for the lobby for Eretz-Israel in the Knesset were appealing to cabinet ministers to oppose the "carrot" part of Lieberman's policy, which they argued would allow Palestinians to take over Area C (defined as areas under full Israeli control). Some of the ministers were opposed to the decision, yet the matter came up for a vote at a time when 40% of the cabinet ministers were not present, including those who were expected to oppose the decision.
Minister Yariv Levin—who is not a cabinet member—said, "The details that are being clarified regarding the cabinet's decision regarding the building permits on the Qalqiliya issue appear to be a very serious blow, and reflect the reality of actions that are contrary to the declared policy of the government."
The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, also responded to the plan, slamming what he described as dealings in the dark.
"I am embarrassed by the way these serious things are being done in the dark and behind the back of the settlement (movement). With all due respect, I do not accept the attempt to transfer the blame to another party. I demand that the cabinet ministers hold a renewed discussion in the cabinet and cancel this dangerous and miserable decision," he said.