Many settlements violating building freeze, Israel says

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Some 29 West Bank settlements have violated the construction freeze, Israel’s Defense Ministry reported.

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai on Monday released a list of the settlements that have continued construction despite a 10-month freeze announced in late November by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Peace Now said Monday that it had identified five additional settlements that also have continued building despite the freeze.

The freeze, which does not cover buildings for which a foundation had already been laid before its start, was announced in a bid to bring the Palestinians to the peace negotiating table, but the Palestinians have refused to resume negotiations until all construction in all settlements and eastern Jerusalem is halted.

Vilnai said officials have attempted to enforce the freeze in the settlements listed as violators, including issuing demolition and stop work orders. Other measures could be taken, he said. Construction equipment also has been confiscated.
 

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