Ma'ariv newspaper reported on Wednesday morning that the Bayit Yehudi party (Jewish Home) decided to stay in the government coalition despite their bitter opposition to the terrorist prisoner release.
The report, which has not been confirmed, claims that Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu (Likud - Yisrael Beiteinu) and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi - National Union) forged a secret deal. Under the agreement, Israel will unfreeze construction plans of thousands of housing units in Judea and Samaria in exchange for remaining in the coalition.
Senior officials in Bayit Yehudi were quoted as claiming a series of sealed envelopes were utilized to communicate between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister Ariel. According to Maariv, in the next few months, an additional 3,500 to 4,500 units will be added to a pending approval of thousands of housing units.
The Palestinian Authority has in the past demanded a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria as a precondition to restarting negotiations with Israel. It now appears a release of 104 terrorist being held in Israel prisons will be the sole precondition for negotiations.