Amid West Bank clashes, Bibi defends freeze


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Right-wing activists clashed with building inspectors and police as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the settlement construction freeze.

Israeli police on Sunday removed 100 right-wing activists, including local residents, girls from a local religious high school and city officials who had blocked roads near the West Bank settlement of Kedumim to prevent Civil Administration inspectors from entering the community to issue stop-work orders.

One demonstrator was arrested. The inspectors entered the settlement through a back entrance via a neighboring Palestinian village, according to reports.

Early that morning, a house and two tractors were set on fire in a West Bank Palestinian village near Nablus in an incident that police believe was caused by extremists in response to the construction freeze, according to reports. The Palestinian family of 12, which is now homeless, filed a complaint with the Civil Administration. 

Netanyahu at the start of Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting said the decision to establish a 10-month freeze on construction in West Bank settlements "has to do with the heart of the homeland of the Jewish people. It has to do with settlers, Israelis who are our brothers; they are part of us and we are part of them.

"The decision was made because we see it as serving broader interests, perhaps the State of Israel’s broadest interests. Today it is clear even to those who were unclear previously — those who want peace and those who are currently acting as refusers of peace. The State of Israel wants peace in the clearest possible sense."

Netanyahu stressed that the freeze "is a one-time and temporary decision, not a freeze of unlimited and infinite duration."


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