Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments yesterday, in which he hinted at a plan to extend the settlement construction freeze past its September 26 end date, at least partially, drew attacks from the right side of the Israeli political spectrum.
Also yesterday, the organization Peace Now warned in a new report that once the freeze is lifted, construction on 2,066 residential units in 42 West Bank settlements will be permitted.
In response to the prime minister's statement, MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union ) said: "No one should be surprised when a spineless politician folds. All of Netanyahu's promises to renew construction after the conclusion of the freeze period aren't worth peanuts. The same goes for the Likud ministers who will accept a full or partial extension of the freeze, in express contradiction of their earlier declarations. Netanyahu and his gang of backbone-free sheep are helping create an enemy state in the heart of Israel," Eldad said.
"Netanyahu must remind [U.S. President Barack] Obama that Ariel and Beit El are not cities in the United States and that he has no mandate to decide on construction in the West Bank," Likud MK Danny Danon said. "On September 26 we will stop asking the world's permission and start building everywhere: in Ariel, in Yitzhar and in Beit El."
Settlement leaders have also been weighing in. Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika said recently: "There's a limit to unreliability and fraudulence, even from a politician like Netanyahu." Mesika added that the situation of the State of Israel has declined significantly as a "direct result" of the deterioration in the situation of the settlements.
"An announcement of the continuation of the freeze is an announcement of the end of the Netanyahu government - a government that was elected by the votes from the nationalist camp, but is trying to implement the policies of the Balad party," Mesika said.
At a protest outside the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem yesterday, Samaria Regional Council chairman Benny Katzover said the settlers' councils are calling on the cabinet not to return to "the suicidal path of the Sharon government, while warning that any compromise on [ending] the freeze would mark the uprooting of more than 100,000 Jews."
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