Reports: Netanyahu Quietly Curbs Settlement Expansion

by | May 7, 2013 | Israel & Jewish Roots, Standing With Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has quietly curbed new building projects in Jewish settlements, an Israeli watchdog group and media reports said on Tuesday, in an apparent bid to help U.S. efforts to revive peace talks with the Palestinians.

“We see there have been no new construction tenders issued for the West Bank since President Barack Obama visited (in March),” Yariv Oppenheimer, head of Peace Now, which monitors settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, told Reuters after assessing the group’s data.

Israeli Army Radio reported that Netanyahu had met Housing Minister Uri Ariel to order a freeze in tenders for new housing projects in settlements in the West Bank, effectively delaying the construction of hundreds of homes.

The Haaretz newspaper, quoting unidentified senior officials, said Netanyahu had promised U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that he would refrain until mid-June from publishing new tenders in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

In Jerusalem, a spokesman for Netanyahu, who is visiting China, had no immediate comment. Kerry is engaged in a fresh U.S. diplomatic campaign to revive peace talks, which collapsed in 2010 over Israel’s continued expansion of settlements.

Nabil Abu Rdaineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, responded cautiously to the reports.

“A freeze in settlement construction within the 1967 borders and especially Jerusalem are the basis of starting any genuine and serious negotiations,” he said. “We must hear Israel state this policy officially.”

Ariel, interviewed on Army Radio, declined to confirm or deny that a freeze was in place.

“I am not commenting. A minister sits with his prime minister. If they want to go public, they have ways to go public. If they want for it stay between them, it will stay between them,” Ariel said.

Jewish Home Party

Ariel was pressed to say whether he was unhappy with the freeze order. “You can understand whatever you want,” he replied.

Ariel is a member of the far-right Jewish Home party, whose leader, Naftali Bennett, has advocated annexing parts of the West Bank.

The Palestinians, who demand a halt to settlement activity as a condition for returning to peace negotiations, want to establish a functioning state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In an apparent effort to give U.S. diplomacy a chance, the Palestinians have not applied in recent months to join any world organizations after the de facto recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations last November.

After the U.N. vote, which was opposed by Israel and the United States, Netanyahu announced plans to build 3,000 more settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

But during his visit to Israel and the West Bank, Obama reiterated U.S. displeasure, saying that continued settlement activity was “counterproductive to the cause of peace.”

Peace Now said it would be premature to describe the decision not to issue new tenders as a settlement freeze.

“The construction on the ground continues at the same pace, and plans continue to be promoted,” it said. Between a general election on January 22 and the swearing-in of Netanyahu’s new government on March 18, approval was given for 1,506 dwellings to be built in West Bank settlements, Peace Now said.

A 10-month moratorium on housing starts in settlements in 2009 led to a brief resumption of peace talks. Netanyahu says the Palestinians should now return to negotiations unconditionally, a position echoed by Washington.

The settlements that Israel has built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal by most countries. Israel cites historical and biblical links to the areas, where about 500,000 Israelis now live alongside 2.5 million Palestinians.


(Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem and Noah Browning in Ramallah; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Troy Black Shares A Message to Help You Fight For Faith Again

Troy Black Shares A Message to Help You Fight For Faith Again

Young, old, rich or poor—nobody is immune to the feeling of brokenness. Jesus' life, death and resurrection on earth is a constant reminder that death no longer has a sting. Fear and hopelessness lurk throughout the earth trying to find an opportune moment to consume...

Kevin Sorbo’s Transformative Encounter as a Teen with Billy Graham

Kevin Sorbo’s Transformative Encounter as a Teen with Billy Graham

Actor Kevin Sorbo is known today for his roles in faith-based movies, like "God's Not Dead" and "Left Behind," but the iconic "Hercules" star's Christian roots took form at an early age. Sorbo recently told CBN's "Faith vs. Culture" he first read the prophetic book of...

7 Forms of Functional Cessationism

7 Forms of Functional Cessationism

In this article, cessationism refers to the doctrine, practice or belief that the ascension ministry gifts and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit ceased with the early church and do not function in the present church age (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 12: 4-11). The...

Practical Tips to Maximize Your Time

Practical Tips to Maximize Your Time

We all have the same amount of time—four hours a day, seven days a week. And the longer I live, the more I discover that time is too valuable for us to waste any of it. That’s why it is so important that we learn to live on purpose, for a purpose. The truth is if you...

Enter the Courts of Heaven with Rabbi Curt Landry

Enter the Courts of Heaven with Rabbi Curt Landry

This article was first released by Curt Landry Ministries. Note: This is the first of a two-part series of articles. When you enter heaven's courtroom to do spiritual warfare, you are asking that the will of God, what is written in His books, be released from heaven...

RECENT ARTICLES

The Spiritual Awakening of Buffalo, New York

Monday night, Jan. 2, 2023, God drew our nation to prayer as Bills player Damar Hamlin experienced cardiac arrest on live tv. Could this have been the largest spontaneous prayer meeting in the...
Dr. Don Colbert: How This Every Day Ingredient is Killing Your Brain

Dr. Don Colbert: How This Every Day Ingredient is Killing Your Brain

Read Time: 4 Minutes 43 Seconds Of the many artificial sweeteners out there, such as aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sugar Twin and Sweet’N Low) and neotame (NutraSweet), aspartame is one of the most common. How common? Aspartame is an ingredient in more...

Pin It on Pinterest