Netanyahu Hints Building Freeze Not on the Government's Agenda
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hinted on Friday that a building freeze may not be on the agenda for Judea and Samaria.
"We have already had a building freeze and seen that it does not give us [positive] results," Netanyahu stated, in an interview with Channel 10. "We froze [construction] for a year, ten months. Did anything come out of it? No, nothing came of it at all."
Netanyahu's comments are not the first hint that Israel is rejecting a building freeze in Judea and Samaria this week, despite Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's demands Monday for such a freeze.
On Wednesday, Jordan Valley Regional Council Head David Elhayani stated to Arutz Sheva that while construction space in the region is still highly limited, and the future looks uncertain due to talks, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) nonetheless told him to keep applying for building tenders.
Elhayani's remarks came just days after Netanyahu declared to Likud party members before leaving for Washington that a building freeze was out of the question.
"There will not be a decision made to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria," Netanyahu declared. He later added, "I will stand steadfast on the State of Israel's vital interests, especially the security of Israel's citizens. In recent years the State of Israel has been under various pressures. We have rejected them in the face of the unprecedented storm and unrest in the region and are maintaining stability and security. This is what has been and what will be."
Netanyahu is under immense pressure by nationalist MKs to reject the construction freeze, including Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who called the freeze a "deluded idea" last month. Ariel noted that the previous building freeze worsened tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).