Members of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, including Chairman Danny Dayan and others, are meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Thursday morning.
Barak: "Our responsibility as leaders is to fulfill laws and gov't decisions. The leadership in Judea and Samaria is responsible, and I am certain it will act within the constraints of the law…”
Earlier, MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh), a long-time pioneer of the Yesha settlement enterprise, had sharp words regarding the planned meeting: “It’s like a man who betrayed his wife and then invites her to discuss the new situation that has been created. Only when the husband stops betraying can he meet with his wife. Until the racist decrees against the Jews are revoked, there can be no meeting with the one who issued the decrees. As we have seen in the past, Netanyahu knows how to use these meetings for his own benefit.”
Four mayors of Yesha towns met with Defense Minister Barak on Wednesday night. Barak had asked for a meeting with the entire Yesha Council, which refused the invitation – and criticized the Defense Ministry reports implying that the meeting was on. “Contrary to reports,” the Council stated, “the Yesha Council and Yesha mayors are not meeting with and do not intend to meet with the Defense Minister. Only two individual mayors will meet with him. To say that the Yesha Council has agreed to meet with Barak is a shameless spin by Barak’s office.”
In the event, four mayors showed up – from Alfei Menashe, Megilot (near the Dead Sea), Jordan Valley and Oranit. Mayor Yaakov Hisdai of Alfei Menashe said afterwards, “I met him not as a representative of the Yesha Council, but as mayor of my town. One thousand stop-work orders were issued in Alfei Menashe!”
Excerpts of what Barak told his visitors: “The settlement blocs [where construction has also been frozen] are an inseparable part of Israel in any future negotiations with the Palestinians… The Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea are areas that are close to my heart… I know that this is a difficult move, but it is critical for the State of Israel today. Our ties and coordination with the U.S. are vital for Israel politically and militarily… Our responsibility as public and government leaders is to fulfill laws and government decisions. The leadership in Judea and Samaria is responsible, and I am certain it will act within the constraints of the law…”
Barak said that an appeals committee for exceptions to the freeze will have to provide residents with answers within 14 days. “Small changes, such as the installment of air conditioners, building pergolas [porch roofs], and the like will be permitted by authority of the mayors,” he allowed.