After Israel Hayomalleged that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has apparently slowed the approval process for construction projects in Judea and Samaria due to American pressure, earlier in the day, Erel Segal of Radio 103FM reported that Yesha Council chairman David Elhayani claimed the Americans will refrain from pressuring Israel into any kind of move vis-a-vis the Middle East peace process over the coming four years.
"The Americans understand that freezing or attempting to move forward with the process will put an end to the current Israeli administration. They have no interest in doing so and I have inside information indicating they will refrain from pressuring Israel," Segal quoted Elhayani as saying.
According to the Israel Hayom report, Bennett has refused to allow the Civil Administration Zoning Committee schedule a routine meeting for the approval of construction plans.
Sources affiliated with the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria insisted this has gone on for over a month and, and that it amounts to a de facto construction moratorium because no new plans can go forward without the committee's go-ahead. "This is tantamount to complete capitulation to US dictates," they stated.
These plans are essential for the overall development of the communities, as they pertain to access roads and big projects as well.
The previous government, under then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was supposed to schedule a date for the committee to convene, but Defense Minister Benny Gantz prevented the move, insisting only the newly-elected government should be allowed to do so.
Head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, in the meantime, joined a chorus of right-wing organizations calling on Bennett to walk back his decision regarding the alleged building freeze.
"I call on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to make it unequivocally clear that the government headed by him will not make any kind of construction freeze in Judea and Samaria and in Jerusalem," said Dagan.
"About half a million citizens living in Judea and Samaria and another four hundred thousand living in eastern and northern Jerusalem are not type B residents in this country, and Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria are the heart of the State of Israel and every government must build them. I hope the report is incorrect and call on the Prime Minister to clarify this and approve construction."
"The public in Israel expects a construction boom in this government as well, in this administration as well, the ball has never been in Washington's court, it has always been and will be and will be in Jerusalem, with the Prime Minister," he continued.
The Prime Minister's Office said in response, "There has been no American demand on the issue. The Planning Council has not convened since January. The Prime Minister throughout these months was not Naftali Bennett."