Netanyahuצילום: Yossi Aloni/Flash90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has frozen new housing construction in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, withholding new housing permits for the expansion of Israeli towns for more than half a year.

The Civil Administration’s Higher Planning Committee, which is charged with providing housing permits for construction of new units in Area C of Judea and Samaria, was slated to convene this week, but the meeting was cancelled – the latest in a string of cancellations.

The Higher Planning Committee has not convened to issue new housing permits since February, a month before the last election for the Knesset.

A meeting of the committee had been slated for late May, but was cancelled, with no reason given for the cancellation.

In recent weeks, the committee’s next meeting was repeatedly pushed off, apparently at the instruction of Netanyahu, who has called for the rescheduling of the committee meeting to some later unknown date.

That has effectively blocked new construction in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, creating a de facto freeze.

There are 5,500 planned housing units waiting for approval from the Higher Planning Committee, half of which are slated to be built immediately following the final approval of the committee.

Settlement leaders from the Yesha Council blasted the repeated delays.

“For more than half a year not a single housing unit has been approved in the area, and we haven’t been given a final date for the convening of the committee. We now find ourselves in the midst of a construction freeze in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley.”

“It is unacceptable that we have to wait half a year for building permits, and we demand that the Prime Minister convene the committee immediately. The Prime Minister suspended sovereignty, so we need to move to creating facts on the ground and building freely, without political approval and limitations which aren’t required elsewhere in Israel.”