Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is attempting to promote construction plans for schools in the settlement of Itamar, where a gruesome murder of five family members took place one month ago, while international pressure mounts on him to present a plan for peace with the Palestinians.
Last week urban building schemes were approved for a number of West Bank settlements, including Nofim, Rotem, and Hemda, effectively setting a precedent for the approval of construction plans there.
After the attack in Itamar Netanyahu promised residents to approve construction there, but sources said Monday that the plans still require the approval of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Though Netanyahu's office refused to comment on the matter, sources told Ynet that he has ordered Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser and Minister Benny Begin to ask Barak to approve the plans as soon as possible.
The prime minister's move carries great significance as it may incur the wrath of the US administration, which has shown disapproval of construction in settlements. However, Netanyahu has vowed before the residents of Itamar that building will ensue.
Meanwhile, the prime minister's associates denied reports that the US plans to support a unilateral declaration of statehood in September.
A political source said that "there is no split with the US, there is an attempt to form a peace plan and a constant exchange of ideas. Netanyahu has not heard of a change in the US position on a unilateral declaration of statehood."
Pressure is expected to mount on the prime minister, however, as European states and the US urge him to declare that Israel is prepared for negotiations with the Palestinians based on a return to the 1967 borders.
Netanyahu has previously disregarded reports that he will present a comprehensive peace plan in his upcoming speech before Congress, but on a recent visit to Berlin he said he would present a plan in a series of speeches.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook