Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu Blocking New Construction, Say Judea & Samaria Mayors

PM cancels building tender hearing Tuesday, prompting frustrated mayors to accuse him of folding to US pressure.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 4/29/2014, 8:40 AM

Construction in Samaria
Construction in Samaria
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has instructed Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to cancel an upcoming hearing to promote plans for building in Judea and Samaria, IDF Radio reports Tuesday.

The hearing, which was scheduled for Wednesday, was for the Planning Council of Civil Administration that approves building tenders in Judea and Samaria. Ya'alon was ordered, however, to cancel the hearing before new plans could be finalized. 

Sources close to the Prime Minister shed some light on the decision early Tuesday, claiming that the matter is an issue of global public opinion. 

"We are making great efforts to convince the world that Abbas is opposed to peace and is clinging to Hamas - it's a strong card and it would be wrong to lose it," the source stated. "Announcing renewed construction now can tilt world opinion against us."

"We insisted in the past that there would not be a [construction] freeze, and indeed, there was not, but this is not the right time [to build]," the source added. 

Several mayors of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria responded angrily to the news early Tuesday, stating on IDF Radio that Netanyahu must have yielded to US pressure, which has continued despite the utter suspension of peace talks. A senior political official indicated Monday night that Israel had indeed yielded to pressure after negotiations failed, but he did not provide details.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Defense Minister's office declined to comment.