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The High Court criticized the government on Wednesday for not having set up a formal mechanism to compensate settlers for damages incurred by a freeze on new construction in their West Bank communities.

"I don't know how much he who gave the order [also] gave his opinion on all the variations of possible injuries that could be a result of it," said Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch during a hearing on four petitions filled against the moratorium.

She also asked the State Prosecutor's Office to relay to the relevant authorities her comments on the freeze, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced two weeks ago as a bid to restart peace talks with the Palestinians.

Along with Supreme Court Justice Ayala Procaccia, Beinisch said there was a need for the government to create a body that would immediately deal with the damage caused.

Nonetheless, the justices said they understood the security and diplomatic goals of the move, which they said was a legitimate measure.