Israel Okays West Bank Construction for Palestinians Ahead of Biden's Visit

Defense Minister Gantz also approves registering 5,500 Palestinians with no legal status, as well as raising the number of Gazans allowed to cross into Israel

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who approved confidence building measures for the Palestinians ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, this week.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who approved confidence building measures for the Palestinians ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, this week.Credit: תומר אפלבאום
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved Tuesday several confidence-building measures for Palestinians in the West Bank, a day before U.S. President Joe Biden’s arrival in Israel.

The measures include allowing 5,500 Palestinians with no legal status to be added to the Palestinian population registry, on top of the 12,000 previously approved.

Gantz also approved six master plans for Palestinian construction in the West Bank — with the plans for Hizma and Harmaleh receiving final approval, and those for Haris, Kisan, and Battis receiving the first level of approval needed in the process.

Also on Tuesday, the Prime Minister's Office ordered that a hearing slated to take place Sunday on Jewish construction in East Jerusalem be temporarily delayed.

In addition, the number of Gazans allowed into Israel for work or commerce will increase by 1,500 to a total of 15,000. A new crossing will also be opened in the northern West Bank to allow for Israeli Arabs to reach the Palestinian city of Jenin more easily.

According to a statement issued by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, these steps were decided on following Gantz’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week in preparation for U.S. President Joe Biden's visit.

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