Amid fierce settler protests, Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered
on Thursday that the West Bank construction moratorium
be revised to include a series of mitigations which would authorize local councils to issue permits for the renovation of existing structures and for public infrastructure work.
However, the said renovations will not include the construction of additional housing units.
Responding to the decision, Efrat Council head Oded Revivi said, "We are talking about semantics; it does not bring any new message."
Shomron Regional Council Head Gershon Mesika called the order a "deception" and a "cosmetic change that does not solve the various problems and injustices that the freeze orders have created.
"(The order) does not repair the message of a loss of way and values," he said, "The freeze, which constitutes racism against Jews, is part of the extreme-Leftist policy that is being implemented."
A senior security official said following Barak's order, "There are no dramatic changes. The revision is a sort of adjustment made in light of the lessons we have drawn over the past month-and-a-half."
Politicians and ministers continued to visit the Yesha and Judea and Samaria council heads' protest tent in Jerusalem this week. Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat arrived at the tent Wednesday and surprised the attendance with her remarks.
"I have already expressed my stance on the construction freeze, however a decision is a decision; I do not see a way to overturn it; battling it is pointless and futile," said Livnat.
The minister promised the settlers that "when the 10 months are up, the government of Israel will continue to build in Judea and Samaria."
Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan said the decision was "illegitimate, and should have not have been made by a national Zionist government."
"We keep hearing that the freeze is temporary; but this must be backed by actions. We must plan ahead into the future," said Dayan.