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Israel accelerates demolition of Palestinian homes

The Netanyahu government accelerates the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, while increasing construction in settlements.
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On the evening of July 21, former Education Minister Naftali Bennett handed over control of the New Right party to his former co-chair and fastest rising star of Israeli politics, Ayelet Shaked. The two wasted no time and went off the next morning to tour their prospective constituencies. The decision to launch their election campaign in the Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank, with activists of the radical right Regavim movement at their side, does not augur well for the campaign. Shaked complained to reporters accompanying her that the state was not allocating the right resources to stop “a massive takeover of Area C” of the West Bank, which is under Israeli control, by the Palestinian Authority (PA). She added that the next defense minister and prime minister should address this issue as “a national priority.”

Regavim, undeterred by the fact that one of its founders and driving forces Bezalel Smotrich was recently appointed as transportation minister, is going after the government at full blast. On July 19, it took out full-page newspaper ads headlined, “A Terrorist State - Just Around the Corner.” The text accused the government of “napping on the job” and allowing the PA to build 28,651 structures since 2012 in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control as designated by the 1993 Oslo Accord, which the political right dubs “a criminal act." Regavim, whose representatives form part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current transition government, are calling on ministers and Knesset members to “take immediate action to prevent a terrorist state in our backyard.”

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