Warning that a de-facto freeze exists for housing tenders in West Bank settlements and Jewish east Jerusalem homes, settler leaders and Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) met Tuesday night.
They are urging Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to allow Ariel’s office to authorize thousands of new housing tenders over the pre-1967 lines.
Netanyahu has refused to cede to the Palestinian demand to freeze West Bank settlement activity and Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
But Netanyahu has quietly placed a temporary hold on issuing new housing tenders over the pre-1967 line as part of his understanding with Washington that he will not take active steps to thwart American efforts to re-kindle direct talks with the Palestinians.
“In spite of the prime minister’s repeated promises, including public pledges, tenders have not been published, including those promised more than a year ago,” said Avi Ro’eh who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
Ariel told him, “There is nothing [technical] that prevents my office from publishing tenders.” He explained to the settler leaders that all the bureaucratic procedures were finished and he was only awaiting authorization to publish the plans.