'W. Bank construction will resume'

Begin won't back extending freeze on building in Jewish settlements.

April 15, 2010 13:09
1 minute read.
Bennie Begin

Bennie Begin. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

Construction of houses in West Bank settlements will resume as soon as the freeze period ends, Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin (Likud) told Army Radio on Thursday. 

Statements by Begin and other hawks in the government over resuming construction in Jewsih settlements in the West Bank could put Israel on a collision course with the Obama administration, which has demanded Israel extend the current moratorium and expand it to include Jewish construction in east Jerusalem.

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Begin was among ministers who voted in favor of the suspension on building activities in the West Bank ten months ago. The decision was announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu on November 2009 as a confidence-building measure towards the Palestinians.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responded by demanding to extend the ban to east Jerusalem as well, which Netanyahu refused, and the Palestinians then refused to resume negotiations.

  The US is said to be asking for the freeze on Jewish construction not only in Arab neighborhoods  beyond the pre-1967 lines in Jerusalem to be extended by at least four months. In addition, it wants Jewish neighborhoods such as Ramot, Neveh Ya’acov, Pisgat Ze’ev and French Hill currently not included in the current moratorium 

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