Settler leaders defiant in meeting with Netanyahu


JERUSALEM (JTA) — West Bank settler leaders told Israel’s prime minister that they would continue to oppose the building freeze and resist stop-work orders.

In a two-hour meeting Thursday in Tel Aviv with Benjamin Netanyahu, the leaders said they would use civil disobedience and the courts in their opposition.

Netanyahu told the settlers that the freeze on construction in the settlements will not last longer than the announced 10 months.

He also said he would take relief measures for the settlements that would not violate the construction ban, such as more money for education programs.

For the third straight day, residents of Jewish West Bank settlements prevented Civil Administration inspectors from entering their communities, including in Kedumim and Karnei Shomron in the northern West Bank and Talmon.

Meanwhile, 14 municipal councils in the West Bank filed a lawsuit requesting that Israel’s Supreme Court cancel the order freezing new construction in the settlements.

On Wednesday, during a meeting called with West Bank settlement mayors, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he would allow the officials to approve residents’ minor renovation projects such as enclosing a balcony. Only two mayors attended the meeting.

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