A building firm announced it is creating facts on the ground Tuesday and is unilaterally ending the 10-month building freeze by beginning work on 2,400 units in Judea and Samaria, including 380 in Modi’in Illit. The community is located next to the old 1949-67 border and next to the city of Modi’in, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The move may cause an uproar in the Palestinian Authority, which is demanding that Israel extend the freeze. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met Tuesday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and American officials in Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss how to advance the “diplomatic process” in the face of the expiration of the freeze in 13 days, on September 26. U.S. President Barack Obama is pressuring Prime Minister Netanyahu to extend it, at least partially.
The Naot Pisgah company said tractors started work Tuesday afternoon in Modi'in Illit and began clearing land for new housing units, where construction was frozen nearly 10 months ago when Prime Minister Netanyahu announced a moratorium on new homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria.
“There is no room to sit back with our arms folded and expect partial or other decisions for the resumption of construction” in Judea and Samaria,” the company said in an announcement.
The firm said the freeze has caused it enormous losses of more than NIS 180 million ($48 million). “Continuing the freeze for a full year would harm dozens of families who have bought apartments and cannot enter them,” Naot Pisgah explained.
Naot Pisgah added that the government has rejected its claim for compensation and that it will appeal the decision.