Netanyahu Reiterates Intent to Block Construction Freeze
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated Sunday that he is opposed to imposing a construction freeze on Judea and Samaria as part of the ongoing talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
"We imposed one in the past and it brought no results," Netanyahu noted, in an interview with IDF Radio. He added that a framework agreement from the US - which would not obligate Israel or the PA to follow the US's plan, but concretize "an American document on American positions" - may not go smoothly with the PA.
Netanyahu's comments are not the first hint that Israel is rejecting a building freeze in Judea and Samaria, despite Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's demands Monday for such a freeze.
The Prime Minister stated almost exactly the same declaration on Sunday as he had on Friday, in remarks to Channel 10.
"We have already had a building freeze and seen that it does not give us [positive] results," Netanyahu stated then. "We froze [construction] for a year, ten months. Did anything come out of it? No, nothing came of it at all."
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."