Ready for another freeze (archive)
Photo: Reuters
Dayan. 'Numbers inflated'
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Eliezer. 'Show of innocence must stop'
Photo: Tomeriko

Post-freeze: Settlers build with frenzy

Yesha Council official says Netanyahu 'prone to pressure', so 'it is obvious that this is a temporary recess' as settler leaders struggle to build as many homes possible before another construction moratorium takes hold

With the threat of another construction freeze looming around the corner, settlers in the West Bank did not waste time: Within less than two months hundreds of housing units which have previously been authorized and whose construction had been halted following the moratorium, have been built.


"It was obvious to us all that this was a temporary recess and that Netanyahu, who is prone to being pressured, will not be able to maintain it for long," a senior official at the Yesha Council said Sunday.


Leaders of the settlement blocs said that they hurried to build as many housing units upon the resumption of construction in September to avoid any real damage should the freeze be renewed. "Our goal was to start building as many structures as possible," a senior Yesha Council official said. "The aim was to lay as many foundations as possible so we could concentrate on continuing construction after the renewed freeze and allow ourselves another year's breathing space," he added.

Construction resumes in September (Photo: Reuters)


The smaller settlements outside the major settlement blocs were most productive, as council heads were able to authorize construction in accordance with outline plans, and settlers admitted that between 300 and 400 housing units were built in Gush Etzion since the end of the freeze. The Shomron Regional Council refused to comment on the number of new units, but sources close to the council said that some 300 units had been built. An additional 200-300 new units were set up at the Binyamin Regional Council.


Some of the council heads refused to divulge specific data, fearing these would prompt criticism and "end the party." Dozens of units have already been built in such settlements as Ariel, Kedumin, Beit Aryeh-Ofarim and Ma'ale Adumin. Meanwhile, thousands more are pending approval. In Efrat for example, some 277 units which already have infrastructure are stuck in the bureaucratic circle.

Celebrating renewed building in Ariel (Photo: Ido Erez)


A report issued by Peace Now claims that since the end of the freeze the construction of 1,649 housing units has begun, of which 1,126 units have had their foundations laid.


The group claims that the settlers have almost closed the gap created by the freeze during the past six weeks. The settlers, however reject the data presented in the report. "The report is just bizarre," Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan said. "I regret to say that data on the ground are significantly lower than in the report. Its aim was political and therefore its data has been inflated. "


Meanwhile, leaders of the settlement blocs are not particularly concerened with a renewed moratorium, claiming it was never truly lifted. "The show of innocence has to end. A freeze exited long before the official moratorium," Alfei Menashe Regional Council head Hesdai Eliezer said. "Any construction in the settlement blocs, regardless of the freeze, requires the approval of the defense minister, and it has been suspended for a long time."



פרסום ראשון: 11.14.10, 18:38
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