Jordan Valley Told to Keep Construction Process Going
Jordan Valley Regional Council Head David Elhayani stated in an interview with Arutz Sheva Wednesday that there may not be a building freeze planned for Judea and Samaria - or, at least, parts of it. According to the official, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Office (PMO) has indicated to the Regional Council recently that there is no need to halt current requests for more building.
"Because we were encountering difficulties, we brought the issue to officials on the highest political echelon, and received clarification that there are no guidelines to stop building in the settlement blocs - especially in the Jordan Valley, which is a big settlement bloc," Elhayani stated. "We are waiting on a hearing with the Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration to see whether our building plans are approved."
Despite the all-clear, however, black clouds continue to loom over the building plans.
"Unfortunately, our country's future is shrouded in mystery, so we continue working [to build]." he stated. "Currently we do not have nearly enough vacant lots available and in certain communities we even stand to break past current zoning restrictions." He added that in certain communities, like Tomer and Patsa'el, there are almost no houses left on the market.
The Jordan Valley, situated in eastern Samaria (Shomron), has been the topic of contention in recent months. US Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly attempting to force a deal on Israel and the Palestinian Authority which would see an Israeli "withdrawal" from all of Judea and Samaria, but allow for a temporary arrangement whereby IDF and/or foreign forces would maintain a presence in the Jordan Valley.
The Israeli government argues the Valley is strategically important, and Netanyahu has insisted in the past that, in the event of a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, Israel would still keep troops in the area.
Pressure to build up the Valley - as well as other parts of Judea and Samaria - has escalated after reports surfaced that the US is demanding another building freeze on Jewish communities.