Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Bayrou decides to march with Macron

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Topsy-Turvy Election: Uncertain outcome as insurgents blow away old guard (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Topsy-Turvy Election: Uncertain outcome as insurgents blow away old guard (part 2)

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Amnesty chief urges France to 'stay true to its values'

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Certain Women', 'Rock’n Roll' and 'A Wedding'

Read more

FOCUS

#BringBackOurInternet: English-speaking Cameroon hit by digital blackout

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Preaching coexistence: Avant-garde mosque opens in Lebanon's Druze heartland

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Prison guards turn guns on prisoners in Chile, and thousands of migrants stuck in smoky warehouses in Serbia

Read more

FACE-OFF

French presidential race: Le Pen makes groundbreaking visit to Lebanon

Read more

Middle east

Israel begins enforcing limited moratorium on new buildings

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-02

Israel has begun enforcing a temporary moratorium on building new West Bank settlements. The 10-month freeze on new construction was announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured) last week.

REUTERS - Israeli inspectors armed with aerial maps and empowered to confiscate construction equipment have begun enforcing a limited government moratorium on new building in West Bank settlements, officials said on Monday.

The 10-month freeze on new housing projects was announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, who pitched it as an attempt to persuade Palestinians to return to U.S.-sponsored peace talks suspended since December.

The temporary moratorium does not apply to areas in the West Bank that Israel annexed to its Jerusalem municipality after capturing the territory from Jordan in a 1967 war.

Palestinians, who seek to establish a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, brushed off the Israeli step as insufficient and a ruse.

Netanyahu's decision pits the government against settlers who claim a biblical birthright to the land and who, in many cases, have long expanded their enclaves without state approval.

"We are conducting operations throughout the West Bank. We have issued stop-work orders and begun confiscating equipment," said Lee Hiromoto, spokesman for the division in Israel's Defence Ministry which handles West Bank administration.

 
"We have a good number of enforcement agents in the field, accompanied by security forces," he said.
 
Leaders of the some 300,000 Israelis living in the West Bank have accused Netanyahu -- whose coalition government includes pro-settler parties -- of capitulating to pressure from the Obama administration for a breakthrough with the Palestinians.
 
In Reuters TV footage that was aired in Israel on Sunday, Gershon Messika, head of the Samaria Regional Council in the northern West Bank, tore up a stop-work order delivered to him by an Israeli army major.
 
"This is an order to halt construction in the state of Israel. This is a racist, immoral and illegal decision which is therefore invalid," Messika said.
 
Asked about the incident, Hiromoto said: "There was no violence." He did not immediately offer details on where or why construction equipment had been confiscated.
 
Israel Radio said building inspectors had on Monday visited settlements in the Etzion and Binyamin blocs abutting Jerusalem.
 
The World Court has branded Israeli settlements illegal. The Palestinians, who number some 2.5 million in the West Bank, say the settlements could deny them a viable state.  

 

Date created : 2009-11-30

  • ISRAEL

    Palestinians reject Netanyahu's offer of partial settlement freeze

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    Netanyahu offers 'far-reaching and painful' partial settlement freeze

    Read more

  • ISRAEL

    Netanyahu seeks 10-month partial settlement freeze

    Read more

COMMENT(S)