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Thursday, October 28, 2010

A silent building freeze?

After we heard about the 544 building starts in Judea and Samaria in the first three weeks after the 'settlement freeze' officially ended, many of us likely thought that the 'settlement freeze' was really over. Unfortunately, that may not be the case. Yesha Council General Manager Naftali Bennett is complaining about a de facto 'silent freeze' on new construction in the larger cities and towns, and the Prime Minister's office is declining comment.
Most significantly, two of the biggest West Bank Jewish cities – Beitar Illit and Ma’aleh Adumim – which together, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, contributed to 38 percent of all settlement building from 2005- 2009, are almost out of permits.

While the international community has called on Israel to show it wants peace by stopping settlement construction, the council is now embarking on a “Save the Cities” campaign to urge the government to rescue some of the larger settlements by authorizing more building.

The media have largely spotlighted the work begun on hundreds of settler homes in the last month since the moratorium on such activity expired.

But, according to settlers, it is a temporary dust storm that will soon lead to a deadly calm.

In effect, Givat Ze’ev Local Council Chairman Yossi Avrahami said, the 10-month moratorium has been replaced by a silent, de facto freeze.

His experience, he said, is evidence of the vast discrepancy that can exist between what the government says, and what it actually does.

He is still waiting for approval for 507 units for the Agan Ha’ayalot project, which the government pledged to build in 2008, but which has yet to receive the proper permits.

Even Peace Now confirmed early last month, that building will soon stop in 14 of the largest 19 settlements, unless the Defense Ministry authorizes more construction and the Housing and Construction Ministry issues more tenders.

Under the “Save the Cities” campaign, the settler council is pushing for building permits to be issued in nine settlements for projects that need only a political okay, since the technical details have all been worked out.

These plans include 978 units in Beitar Illit; 800 in Alfei Menashe; 507 in Givat Ze’ev; 503 in Ariel; 435 in Efrat; 265 in Elkana; 213 in Ma’aleh Adumim; 134 in Geva Binyamin and 48 in Kiryat Arba.
The vast majority of those units are in 'settlement blocs' that Israel allegedly plans to keep in any final agreement with the 'Palestinians.' But the Defense Ministry is refusing to issue the required permits.

Maybe it's time to change Defense Ministers....


At 2:10 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Why are they waiting for Barak's permission?

Start building! No one elected him Yesha's overlord. I am annoyed with Stupid Jews who sit around and wait for the Czar's permission to have a normal life.

Build and let the government demolish them and build again. As long as takes.


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