Friday, January 01, 2010

Despite freeze, hundreds of housing units under construction in isolated settlements.

Ha'aretz newspaper do a very good job reporting just how serious Netanyahu is about his supposed "settlement freeze":

Despite the construction freeze, dozens of settlements in the West Bank are experiencing a building boom, even on the eve of another visit to the region by U.S. envoy George Mitchell to try to restart talks for a final settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Construction is being carried out mostly to the east of the separation fence; it began shortly after warrants were issued on November 26 freezing construction.

Haaretz toured the area on Wednesday and witnessed work being carried out in the Barkan and Ariel industrial zones, as well as the construction of housing at Ariel, Elkana North, Peduel and Kfar Tapuah. A sign at Kfar Tapuah announced plans for the construction of 65 new housing units. Israel patrols were evident, but not inspectors of the Civil Administration enforcing the construction ban.
So, how has this come to be?
Around 3,000 housing units, whose foundations had been poured at the time the order went into effect, have not been affected by the temporary freeze in construction. These are in addition to 492 housing units already approved by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

According to Etkes and Ofran, the building boom began while the United States was demanding a construction freeze in the settlements. The local authorities issued a great number of new construction permits, mostly to isolated and relatively small settlements, but also in the larger settlements.
It's very hard to believe that Netanyahu is proceeding in good faith when one learns of this nonsense.

His government is continuing to create "facts on the ground"; settlements which are built outside of international law and in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

And he is doing all this building whilst publicly claiming to be observing a settlement freeze.

I really hope, once the healthcare issue is sorted, that Obama spends 2010 working at bringing about a viable peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and that he has the courage to stand up to Netanyahu to make this possible.

Because Netanyahu's current behaviour is almost treating the US president and his priorities with contempt.

Click here for full article.

No comments: