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Gantz thanks Palestinian firefighters, but cancels permit for new homes

August 18, 2021 at 10:18 am

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz in Jerusalem on 2 December 2020 [ALEX KOLOMIENSKY/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

Israel’s Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, thanked the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday for sending firefighters to help their Israeli counterparts to tackle the wildfires around Jerusalem, but also cancelled a meeting set to approve the permit for new Palestinian homes to be built in Area C of the occupied West Bank.

The PA sent four fire trucks and 20 firefighters to help Israel to deal with the massive fires, which are getting closer to residential areas. The order was given by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

“I would like to thank… Mahmoud Abbas for his initiative to send firefighting forces to assist Israel today,” Gantz tweeted. “Mutual assistance and saving human lives are the common interest of all of us.”

However, he cancelled the order to allow the building of 800 Palestinian apartments in Area C. The Israeli government had given initial approval for the building project as part of a package which included and additional 2,264 housing units in illegal settlements in the West Bank.

According to Israel media, under pressure from the head of the Settlements Council in the West Bank, David Al-Hayani, Gantz cancelled the committee meeting which should have approved the licence for the Palestinian apartments. The homes were intended for PA officials.

READ: Bennett prevents Gantz from meeting with Abbas