Following a deadly terror attack on Saturday that took the lives of Shai Silas Nigerker, 60, and his son Aviad Nir, 28, at a car wash in Huwara, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich wrote a post on social media calling the Israel Defense Forces to “go on the offensive.”
“The heart is torn from sorrow and pain following the terrible attack in Huwara, in which a father and his son were murdered by a vile and despicable murderer," Smotrich wrote. "I, along with the whole nation of Israel, send condolences to the grieving family."
"The IDF must go on the offensive in Judea and Samaria and restore deterrence and security, while at the same time, we are working to intensify the construction and strengthening of settlements in the area.”
Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan blamed the Palestinian Authority for the attack due to its 'pay-for-slay' policy of rewarding the families of terrorists.
The finance minister has begun promoting a plan to increase Israeli authority and presence in Area C of Judea and Samaria by strengthening 155 “wildcat outposts," according to a local N12 news report.
Smotrich's plan calls for paving roads and connecting the sites to water and electricity, despite the lack of government approval.
Opponents say that Smotrich is taking advantage of his position as finance minister and head of Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria to skirt the required stages of approval.
According to N12, the defense establishment is worried that Smotrich’s plan will increase tensions between Jewish settlers and Palestinians, leading to more clashes.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned Smotrich’s plan to legalize the outposts, calling them “illegal.”
“Attempts by Israeli occupation authorities and their extremist ministers to confer legitimacy upon any settlement established on the lands of the State of Palestine will not succeed,” Rudeineh said.
“UN Security Council Resolution 2334 confirms that all settlements are illegal and violate international law, including those in East Jerusalem," he added.
The U.S. State Department also condemned the plan. Spokesman Vedant Patel said, settlement development “increases tension and undermines trust between the two sides. We strongly oppose settlement development and urge Israel not to continue such activities.”
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The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.