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Settlement construction to be halted?
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Wallerstein. Complete termination
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Plan to enforce construction freeze presented
Coordinator of government's activities in territories convenes special meeting ahead of possible joint Netanyahu-Mitchell declaration on 10-month settlement freeze. Yesha Council chairman: Can't believe right-wing government terminating settlements
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announce in the coming days that the Israeli construction in settlements will be frozen for 10 months. This expected declaration, which has been reported by local and international media, is supported by a preliminary discussion held recently by the coordinator of the government's activities in the territories.

 

According to different sources, Netanyahu and US special envoy George Mitchell will make an announcement on the matter as early as Wednesday evening.

 

During the discussion, which was held at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv, the coordinator attempted to present the current state of affairs and come up with ways to implement the construction freeze ahead of the day of execution.

 

The matters discussed included the need to sign orders, issuing a construction prohibition map in accordance with a general's order, defining communities' borders, imposing sanctions on heads of communities and councils, arresting and banning youth involved in building exceptions, framing caravan operators in the West Bank and closing them with the help of the Shin Bet and police, defining illegal construction as a criminal activity, quick demolition of any new construction, etc.

 

It was also decided to focus on the Amana settlement movement and to appoint a inter-ministerial team to implement the conclusions.

 

The document summarizing the discussion has reached the Yesha Council and its secretary-general, Pichas Wallerstein, who defines it as an attempt to terminate Judea and Samaria settlements.

 

"I found it difficult to believe that a right-wing government would present such a position paper," he said. Wallerstein expressed his hope that the government would "act firmly against the person who wrote this document, otherwise it would mean that the government supports this."

 

In any event, he clarified, the settlers will not ignore the matter.

 

The diplomatic-security cabinet is expected to discuss the relations with the Palestinians and the possibility of a construction freeze during its meeting Wednesday. According to difference sources, a joint Netanyahu-Mitchell announcement on the construction freeze will be made immediately afterwards.

 

Roni Sofer contributed to this report

 

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