'Netanyahu approved construction - then froze it'

Jewish Home minister says Prime Minister behind building freeze. Prime Minister's office denies claims.

Hezki Baruch ,

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel addresses Knesset
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel addresses Knesset

Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) issued a signed statement Thursday, verifying an Arutz Sheva report Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had ordered thousands of recently issued building permits issued for Judea and Samaria to be frozen.

According to the report, thousands of building permits approved shortly after President Trump’s inauguration in January have been frozen. Some 5,500 housing units had been approved after the inauguration, including 2,000 which were to be marketed immediately.

The Prime Minister’s Office denied the report, saying Netanyahu had not ordered any freeze on construction in Judea and Samaria. Delays in construction, Netanyahu’s office said, were the result of actions by the Housing Ministry, not the Prime Minister’s Office.

“There is a political official who has been spreading this claim in recent days in order to butt heads with the Prime Minister,” a Netanyahu spokesperson said on Wednesday. “This is a complete and total lie.”

On Thursday, however, Minister Ariel came out publicly to back up the report, verifying that the Prime Minister had indeed ordered thousands of permits frozen.

Specifically, wrote Ariel, Netanyahu ordered 2,086 of the 5,500 units approved in January to be frozen. Among those projects placed on hold are plans for 698 new homes in Alfei Menashe in western Samaria, 630 in Beit Arieh-Ofarim, also in west Samaria, 758 homes in two projects in Beitar Illit south of Jerusalem, as well as an industrial zone in Beitar Illit.