Barak's Delays Make Freeze Permanent for Judean City of Efrat
While many Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria are preparing to resume construction when the 10-month construction freeze ends in ten days, the city of Efrat is left facing a permanent freeze, local council head Oded Ravivi said Thursday to Minister of Science Daniel Hershkowitz (Jewish Home).
“Even if the freeze ends, we have nowhere to build,” Ravivi explained. In theory, the city, which is built on state land, has land reserves that are available to it. However, he said, “each additional project requires authorization from the Defense Minister, something which he has avoided giving for political reasons.”
The Mayor claimed that Barak is implementing his own private freeze. For example, he explained, plans to sell 40 housing units have been on hold for more than three years while waiting for Defense Minister Ehud Barak's authorization.
Ravivi's testimony strengthened concerns that Barak plans to thwart Judea and Samaria construction for Jews even if Netanyahu officially allows building in the region.
Hershkowitz told Ravivi that he would look into the matter. The minister has been active in backing the end of the construction freeze as scheduled, on September 26, despite pressure from the United States and the Palestinian Authority to extend the freeze.