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MKs Want to End Barak's Control of Judea, Samaria Housing

MKs Miri Regev and Ze'ev Elkin call to take authority for approving Judea and Samaria construction out of Barak's hands.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/22/2011, 8:24 PM / Last Update: 2/22/2011, 9:23 PM

Flash 90

For months, Jews in Judea and Samaria have found themselves in limbo. While a 10-month construction freeze officially ended several months ago, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has refused to approve new building projects, leading to an unofficial building freeze that adds fuel to the fire of soaring housing prices.

In an attempt to change the situation, MKs Miri Regev and Zeev Elkin of Likud are planning an urgent measure to declare that Barak is no longer in charge of authorizing Judea and Samaria construction. The measure will be submitted Wednesday.

Elkin and Regev's move follows a visit to the Gush Etzion region, south of Jerusalem, where they met with local officials. Oded Ravivi, head of the Efrat regional council, told the MKs that the building freeze has in effect continued.

Efrat is suffering from a severe housing shortage, he told them. “Despite Efrat's inclusion in the 'settlement blocs,' the city has been frozen for more than eight years, during which there has not been a single new tender,” he said.

“In recent years the government has invested 30 million shekels in developing Givat HaZayit [a neighborhood in Efrat – ed.], but despite the tremendous investment, has not put out even one bid for the hundreds of housing units that could be marketed and built,” Ravivi continued. “Because the Defense Ministry does not give its approval, the state cannot get back the major sums that it invested in the area.”