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Smotrich Signs Deal For Transfer Of Authority Of Yehudah And Shomron

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich signed an agreement on Thursday on the transfer of authority of the Civil Administration and Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories in Yehudah and Shomron to Smotrich, who also holds the position of Minister in the Defense Ministry.

The agreement, which ends weeks of tension on the issue between Smotrich and Gallant, was signed in accordance with the coalition agreement between the Religious Zionist and Likud parties.

According to the deal, Gallant will continue to maintain security control over Yehudah and Shomron but Smotrich will be responsible for all civilian matters, including the supervision and enforcement of illegal construction. However, it was agreed that in the event of a security or irregular event, Gallant will be permitted to take authority – while notifying Smotrich. In the case of a dispute, Netanyahu will make the final decision.

Smotrich will also be responsible for land registration, transportation and road planning and civil infrastructure throughout Yehudah and Shomron; decisions on the authorization of new homes and the evacuation or demolition of illegal homes, whether those of Jews or Palestinians in Area C, and investigations into the ownership of disputed lands in Yehudah and Shomron.

Following the uprooting of an orchard in the Shomron last week, in opposition to Smotrich’s order, he wrote an urgent letter to Netanyahu. Later, it was reported that Netanyahu called Smotrich and promised to immediately transfer power over the Civil Administration to him.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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