Netanyahu to Settlers: Protest, but Abide by Freeze Decision

Yesha Council Chairman summed up meeting with Netanyahu about the construction freeze: "It was sad; protest and struggle will continue."

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Yoni Kempinski, | updated: 15:42

PM Binyamin Netanyahu
PM Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Council heads of Judea and Samaria communities and the heads of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities met Thursday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss the construction freeze ordered by Netanyahu last week. This, despite objections by settlement leaders to the meeting.

According to his press adviser, Prime Minister Netanyahu said at the meeting: "The Cabinet decision is the optimal decision for the State of Israel in the complicated diplomatic situation in which we presently find ourselves, and given the various challenges facing us. We made this tough decision in order to advance Israel's broader interests. This step makes it clear to the main elements around the world that Israel aspires towards peace and is serious in its intention to achieve peace, while the Palestinians refuse to begin peace negotiations. This step makes it clear who is refusing peace."

'Nine months and three weeks left'
Netanyahu added: "This order is one-time only and it limits the duration of the suspension. There are nine months and three weeks left.  Once the suspension has expired, we will continue to build. I want to make it clear: The future of settlement will be determined only in a permanent peace agreement."

He concluded by saying: "I would like you, as leaders, to sit at the steering wheel together with us. There is one item that is not on the agenda: You may demonstrate, protest and express your opinions, but it cannot be that you will not abide by decisions which have been made according to law." 

Netanyahu later said that after consulting with Defense Minister Barak and the professional team on the issues that were raised at the meeting, answers and solutions would be formulated within the shortest time possible.

Yesha Council head Danny Dayan spoke with Israel National News after the meeting.

Dayan said that the protests and opposition to the freeze order will continue and intensify.

Regarding the Prime Minister's promise that construction will be renewed after ten months of freeze, Dayan says he’s waiting to see specific building plans for “the eleventh month." 

"We will judge by actions, not by words," Dayan said.