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Thursday July 15, 2010 8:03 PM (EST+7)
Despite settlement freeze, building remains apace

Read more: settlement freeze, 10-month settlement freeze, settlements, Israeli settlements, construction, Netanyahu

RAMALLAH, July 15 (JMCC) - Despite a 10-month settlement freeze declared by Prime Minister Netanyahu's government over seven months ago, construction has continued at a relatively equal pace, reports The New York Times.

The Israeli construction freeze, which did not extend to East Jerusalem, was politically difficult for Mr. Netanyahu, with his right-wing coalition partners. He has called the stoppage “exceptional” and “extraordinary.” But an examination of the freeze after more than seven months suggests that it amounts to something less significant, at least on the ground. In many West Bank settlements, building is proceeding apace. Dozens of construction sites with scores of Palestinian workers are active.

There are two reasons for this. First, as the Defense Ministry has charged, some cheating has occurred. In February, the ministry said that 29 settlements were in violation of the freeze and that it would increase demolition orders and other forms of enforcement.

Second, when the freeze was announced, it came with the assertion that some 3,000 units were grandfathered in and would proceed during the moratorium. David Ha’Ivri, spokesman for the Shomron Regional Council in the northern West Bank, said the leader of the council, Gershon Mesika, knew a freeze was coming and so approved more than 1,600 units in 2009, nearly 10 times the number that had been approved the previous year for his area...

Read more at The New York Times...






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