Tuesday, Aug. 04
Latest News
  1. Kerry in Qatar to assure Gulf allies over Iran deal
  2. Yemen rebel chief says ready for political settlement
  3. Turkey's Erdogan says Putin may 'give up' on Assad
  4. Israel president threatened over 'Jewish terrorism' comment
  5. Iraqi Kurdish leader vows to avenge Yazidis
  6. Turkey vows 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants
  7. 'Hundreds' of Gulf Arab troops enter Yemen's liberated Aden
  8. Kerry in Qatar to assure Gulf allies over Iran deal
  9. Teen stabbed at Gay Pride march dies as pressure mounts on Israel
  10. Kerry pledges support for Egypt in Cairo talks
  11. UAE to try 41 on charges of seeking 'caliphate'
  12. Two Turkish troops killed in 'PKK suicide attack'
  13. Iraqis protest over poor services, salty tap water
  14. Exiled Yemen PM makes symbolic Aden visit to lead restoration
  15. New Taliban leader calls for unity in ranks in first audio message
  16. Iraqi Kurdistan leadership says PKK should leave
  17. Kerry lands in Egypt on first leg of Mideast tour
  18. Iraqis protest over poor services, salty tap water
  19. Dozens dead as Syria army 'pushes back rebels near regime heartland'
  20. Yemen PM returns to Aden from Saudi exile

Israel housing minister says settlement freeze in place

June 18, 2013 7:18 P.M. (Updated: June 20, 2013 8:48 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel on Tuesday implied that a silent freeze on new housing projects in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has been in place since the beginning of 2013.

Ariel's remarks to army radio come a day after his party leader Naftali Bennett declared that the idea of a Palestinian state had reached a "dead end" and called to "build, and build, and build" in the West Bank.

Bennett's remarks drew harsh condemnation from Palestinians and forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reiterate his support for the two-state solution.

When confronted by army radio to the fact it did not seem like the policy of this government was indeed "to build", pro-settlement Ariel acknowledged that "there's a certain difficulty here, we're acting to change it".

"In Jerusalem since the beginning of the year there have been no marketings (of new housing projects) at all, except for one (in west Jerusalem), the same to Judea and Samaria," the biblical name for the West Bank.

Pressed further by army radio whether it would be right to say he acknowledged there's a construction freeze in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Ariel replied: "Let's say that's not entirely off mark."

A freeze on settlement construction is one of the PLO's demands of Israel for a return to direct peace talks, which broke off in late September 2010.

Israel has said it is ready for an immediate resumption of talks, but insists it will only talk if there are no such pre-conditions.

Last month, Israeli media had reported that Netanyahu had ordered a freeze on tenders for new settlers homes. While Ariel had refused to comment, settlement watchdog Peace Now confirmed there had not been any tenders published since the start of the year.

Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015