West Bank construction work [illustrative].
(photo credit: AP)
Hours after reassuring a Knesset conference on the West Bank housing start
moratorium that “the Likud faction will never vote to extend the building
freeze,” MK Carmel Shama (Likud) submitted a bill on Monday that would require
Knesset approval for any future freeze.
Shama and co-sponsor MK Uri Ariel
(National Union) said they would ask that the measure be exempted from any
waiting period between readings, and that the Ministerial Committee for
Legislation is expected to debate government support for the legislation on
“There is no chance of the current Knesset approving any
proposal” for a continuation of the partial building freeze in West Bank
communities, Shama said. “I hope that the ministerial committee will
request for a waiting period exemption so that we can pass the bill
end of the summer session.”
The effort to push the legislation through
the Knesset in the month that remains of the summer session is
the moratorium expires in late September, weeks before the Knesset
for its winter session.
Ariel and Shama also filed a request to speed up
proceedings with House Committee Chairman Yariv Levin (Likud), in whom
likely to find a ready ally, as Levin is one of the most rightleaning
the Likud Knesset faction.
The bill would forbid freezing building
projects in the West Bank that are “owned by an Israeli citizen, company
company established according to Israeli law, unless permission is
The sponsors explained that building freezes “prevent the
strengthening and natural growth of communities to such an extent as
destroy the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria and that harms
life of a large public that chose to reside in the area with the
of Israeli governments.
“Such a weighty and fateful public decision, with
so many implications, should be made through a democratic process, and
who were chosen by the public are the only authority fitting to
questions,” the two MKs wrote in the preamble to the bill.
Shama said the
measure was intended to “prevent the moratorium from being extended for
additional period” when the current order, which was ratified by a
forum of cabinet ministers, expires.
“I would imagine that in advance of
September, the pressure will increase on the prime minister, and we thus
create a legislative ‘brake’ in order to prevent an additional freeze,”