Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered Housing Minister Uri Ariel to freeze building projects planned for Judea and Samaria (Shomron), according to a Tuesday-morning report by Israel Defense Forces Radio. The station quoted a government official as saying, "Most of the contract bids are ready and can be published at any time." However the visit of United States President Barack Obama and the attempts of Secretary of State John Kerry to renew the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are apparently keeping that from happening.
The station did not hear directly from either Netanyahu or Ariel. A few days ago, Ariel made it clear that his Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home-New National Religious Party) would not support the budget if it did not include funds for promised projects in Judea and Samaria, including construction between Jerusalem and the eastern suburb of Ma'aleh Adumim.