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Israel officials shelve development plan because it excluded the West Bank

June 28, 2019 at 10:38 am

Israeli officials have shelved a flagship development plan due to objections that it did not include the occupied West Bank, reported Haaretz.

The plan – known as Tama 1 – is the planning authorities’ flagship programme for the next several decades of Israel’s development, combining more than 300 projects “in areas as varied as energy, transportation, water use, waste, beaches and mining”.

After the director general of the Agriculture Ministry, Shlomo Ben Eliyahu, asked the directors general of other government ministries not to approve the plan, his call was supported by Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

Smotrich is from the Union of Right-Wing Parties, and is a well-known supporter of Israeli colonisation in the West Bank. In his new post, he is responsible for transportation infrastructure.

Tama 1 was “supposed to come up for a vote in the Finance Ministry’s housing cabinet this week”, reported Haaretz, but that will not be happening now, due to Ben Eliyahu’s demand.

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According to the paper, “Ben Eliyahu’s demand raises questions because the Planning and Building Law doesn’t apply to the West Bank, so it’s not clear how a master plan could apply to the region.”

While Ben Eliyahu “is concerned that Tama 1 doesn’t include the West Bank, the claim in his letter was based on technical reasons because Israel is heading to the new election,” Haaretz added.

The official has proposed a number of options going forward, including extending the plan “to include the land between the Green Line and the Jordanian border” (i.e. the West Bank), as well as suggesting “that the National Planning Bureau cooperate with the planning bureau for the West Bank in order to add a so-called Tama 1 East plan covering the West Bank”.

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