Judea and Samaria council tells ministers: Reject settlement freeze

“The next hours are critical. This is the time to act to stop this foolish move,” wrote the settler leaders during an emergency meeting.

April 2, 2014 01:18
2 minute read.

View of settlement. [Illustrative]. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Settlers on Tuesday night sent an urgent letter to cabinet ministers urging them to oppose any deal with the Palestinians that includes the release of prisoners and a building or planning freeze in Judea and Samaria.

“The next hours are critical. This is the time to act to stop this foolish move,” wrote the settler leaders during an emergency meeting, at the Ma’aleh Hahamisha hotel outside Jerusalem, held by the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria. “We the council heads of Judea and Samaria call on you at this time to ask the prime minister to avoid any kind of a freeze in Jerusalem or the Judea and Samaria settlements.”

They asked the ministers to reject any type of settlement freeze should it be brought to a vote.

“We are confident that you won’t cave in to Palestinian blackmail or American pressure and temptations and that you will strengthen the prime minister in preserving the settlements,” they said.

They added that they were supporting the bereaved families of terrorism victims in their demands, based both on morality and security, not to free “those who had murdered those who were dear to them.”

Among those who took part in the meeting were council head Avi Ro’eh, his deputy Yigal Dilmoni and foreign envoy Dani Dayan.

Earlier the council said that it was “shameful” to use jailed American spy Jonathan Pollard to sway Israel to free additional Palestinian prisoners and to freeze settlements. It said that it, like the rest of the nation, wanted to to see the release of Pollard from a US jail where he has been serving a life sentence for passing classified information to Israel. But not at the price of harming the bereaved families.

The council added that pushing Israel to accept any kind of a settlement freeze, even one that involved the planning process, would not advance the peace process. It said that Israel had in the past partially frozen construction, including the 10-month moratorium on building starts from November 2009 to September 2010. But it said such steps have only pushed the Palestinians to increase its demands.

Dilmoni warned that even a partial freeze, such as halting the publication of tenders and the authorization of building permits, would have a harmful effect on settlements in Judea and Samaria.

According to reports on Tuesday, Israel had offered to “exercise restraint” in releasing government tenders for new homes in the West Bank, meaning that it would issue no new government tenders for housing in Judea and Samaria.

But Hagit Ofran, of Peace Now, said freezing the publication of tenders was “meaningless.”

She explained that tenders related only to government initiated projects executed through the Construction and Housing Ministry, but not to private sponsored projects done through the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division.

Ofran pointed out Central Bureau of Statistics data, which shows that in 2013, government sponsored Jewish building projects in the West Bank made up 45.8 percent of the starts and 7% of the finishes.

In 2012, according to the CBS, public construction for which tenders would have been needed, made up 9.9% of the starts and 29.9% of the finishes.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN