The Israeli government unanimously approved on Sunday a NIS1 billion ($317m) plan to increase the number of Jewish settlers in the occupied Golan Heights, Israeli media reported.
The Times of Israel reported Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as saying that Israel intends to double the number of Israelis living in “the strategic area” in the coming years.
“This is our moment,” Bennett said. “This is the moment of the Golan Heights. After long and static years in terms of the scope of the settlement, our goal today is to double settlement in the Golan Heights.”
On his Twitter account, Bennett wrote: “We are making history in the Golan.”
The Jerusalem Post reported him saying: “A combination of circumstances has led us today to a dramatic government decision to channel considerable resources, around NIS1b, to strengthen communities on the Golan Heights.”
His remarks came during a meeting for his government held on Sunday in the occupied Golan Heights.
The goal of the settlement plan is to boost the population in the Golan Heights between 2022 and 2025, which aims to increase the number of settlers to 100,000.During his cabinet meeting, Bennett announced two new settlements and two new communities of settlers to be named Asif and Matar, each with about 2,000 housing units.
Bennett said: “Every knowledgeable person in the world understands that it is preferable to have Israeli heights (Golan Heights) that are quiet, flourishing and green as opposed to the alternative.”
“It doesn’t matter how many cabinet meetings are held on the Golan, it is occupied Syrian territory,” Arab MK Ahmad Tibi tweeted.
“All parts of the coalition are responsible for the decisions made during this cabinet meeting, as well as for the deepening of the settlements and the violence of settlers,” he added.