Tzipi Hotovely
Tzipi Hotovely Yisrael Bradogo

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) ripped Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday afternoon over the government’s decision to limit the number of housing projects in Judea and Samaria set to be approved, saying the move perpetuated the Obama-era building freeze.

“After eight years of a deep freeze, the housing shortage has become serious, and the time has come to get back to building with existing plans, and stop imposing construction quotas,” said Hotovely.

“The deep disappointment in the settlement field needs to be addressed with an increase in [building] projects.”

While the government has been pushing projects which include 2,600 new homes in Judea and Samaria – including some outside of the major settlement blocs – Hotovely noted that many areas received no new housing permits whatsoever.

“It is unbelievable that in Gush Etzion no construction has been green-lighted,” said Hotovely.

Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, is one of the largest blocs of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and is widely perceived as a “consensus bloc”, where even left-leaning governments have permitted expansion.

The Prime Minister’s Office pushed back on the Deputy Foreign Minister’s comments Sunday, calling her claims of a silent construction freeze “the opposite of the truth.”

“As opposed to what has been claimed,” a statement from the PMO claimed, “there is no building freeze at all. In fact, the opposite is true. In recent months thousands of units have been approved across Judea and Samaria, and for the first time in decades, a new community has been authorized. Repeating a lie does not make it true.”