Settlers turn away building inspectors

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Residents of several West Bank settlements forced Civil Administration inspectors trying to enforce a building freeze to turn away.

Inspectors were turned away Tuesday in Kiryat Arba near Hebron, as well as Karnei Shomron, Shavei Shomron, Talmonim and Revava in the northern West Bank. No violence was reported.

The actions came a day after the heads of West Bank communities said they would prevent Civil Administration officials from entering their communities to enforce thea 10-month settlement construction freeze announced last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The statement Monday by the Yesha Council followed an emergency meeting called after inspectors, escorted by soldiers and police, began visiting West Bank settlements to enforce the freeze.

In their statement, the settler leaders said, "The government’s decision is illegitimate, immoral, anti-Zionist and inhumane, and we will continue to develop the land with or without the government."

The statement also said the freeze violates the "basic human rights" of the 300,000 Israelis living in the West Bank.

Netanyahu canceled a meeting with the West Bank regional council heads due to a virus.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu on Monday ordered the Defense Ministry to allow the construction of 25 new apartments in the Keidar settlement, saying they did not fall under the construction freeze.

Inspectors on Monday issued 50 stop-work orders at West Bank building sites. Four bulldozers and tractors, as well as building material, were confiscated.
 

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