Minister Plans for End of Freeze

Minister Attias, speaking near Hevron, stated confidently: “We are doing all we can to be ready for tenders on the day the freeze ends, Sept. 26.”

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 14:48

Minister Attias at the ceremony
Minister Attias at the ceremony
Israel news photo

Housing Minister Ariel Attias took part in a joyous ceremony in the Southern Hevron Hills region on Monday evening, and stated confidently: “My ministry is not refraining from, and is even budgeting for, future housing plans everywhere – despite the construction freeze. We are doing all we can to be ready with plans for tenders on the day the freeze ends, September 26.”

The Netanyahu government, under heavy pressure from the Obama Administration, announced a 10-month freeze on all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria this past November. The purpose was to provide an incentive for the Palestinian Authority to agree to negotiate with Israel; the PA only agreed to do so – in indirect, “proximity” talks – two months ago, nearly four months after the construction freeze was announced.

Attias was taking part in a "new Torah scroll" ceremony in Yeshivat Maaleh Hever in the community of the same name. The scroll was donated by the Tzur family of Beit El.

In addition to Attias, other Cabinet ministers have made similar promises to resume construction when the 10-month period ends.  Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin, for instance, who originally voted for the freeze in the mini-Cabinet, said in April that construction of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria will resume as soon as the freeze period ends.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Minister without Portfolio Moshe Yaalon have also expressed the same very recently.

In December and in January, Prime Minister Netanyahu himself made statements to the effect that the freeze was only temporary, and that "in another eight months, we'll start building again." He has not made similar announcements in recent weeks.