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Friday, January 08, 2010

Barak loosens 'West Bank settlement freeze'

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has loosened some of the restrictions on changes to existing Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.
Defense officials said that language in the order had been changed to allow council heads to issue permits for renovations, as long as it did not allow additional apartment units to be added to a building, but simply modified existing ones.

Council heads can also issue permits for changes in building plans in structures that are already under construction, but the same restriction against additional apartment units applies.

Permits can be granted for infrastructure work within the populated areas of a settlement, but not around its perimeter.

In addition, planning work for additional construction in settlements can continue, but those plans will not be authorized during the moratorium.

Efrat Council chairman Oded Raviv [should be Ravivi. CiJ] immediately attacked the change, which he said was only cosmetic in nature.

David Ha'ivri, executive director of the Shomron Liaison office, said the change showed that certain aspects of the moratorium were illegitimate.
Without seeing the precise language of the order (for example, can I add a room onto an existing house), it's hard to say whether Barak's change is substantively relevant. But what is relevant here - and it's good news - is that either Barak is feeling pressure to modify the order, or that the government is waking up to the fact that the freeze is only harming Israelis and not pushing 'negotiations' ahead, or both. And any one of those three possibilities is good news.


At 3:33 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I think its the active non-cooperation and resistance of revanants that forced Barak to back down. He didn't do it out of the goodness of his heart. Now they need to escalate the pressure to get the freeze terminated.


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