(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.
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