Daily Israel Report

Report: Netanyahu to Free Terrorists, but Allow Construction

Following Bayit Yehudi pressure and popular opposition to prisoner release, PM reportedly planning to allow Judea-Samaria construction
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/24/2013, 2:53 PM

Construction in Neveh Menachem
Construction in Neveh Menachem
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to “thaw” building tenders for construction in Judea and Samaria (Shomron) while at the same time freeing Palestinian Authority terrorists, according to a report from IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal).

According to the report, Netanyahu told ministers Uri Ariel and Naftali Bennett of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party that he plans to allow construction tenders in the near future.

Allowing tenders would counter reports that Netanyahu has agreed to a silent ban on construction in Judea and Samaria. It could also soften criticism of the government’s agreement to release terrorists, including several who murdered children.

The reported “deal” has not yet been officially confirmed by either the government or the Jewish Home party.

Sources in the party said it is too early to tell whether construction will in fact occur in parallel to the prisoner release.

Earlier this week it was reported that Netanyahu plans to bring the agreement to free terrorist killers to the Security Cabinet rather than the Knesset, in the belief that he will more easily obtain majority support for his plan.

If the plan is approved, terrorists will be freed in four stages over the course of eight months. The drawn-out release process aims to guarantee that PA officials will continue negotiations for some time, rather than dropping out immediately after obtaining concessions. PA Chairman Abbas previously agreed to negotiations only at the end of a massive construction freeze, then left talks shortly afterward.