Netanyahu Drops Opposition to Likud Plan for Renewed Settlement Building

PM delayed discussion on the construction freeze for months but will not oppose new initiative and may even support it.

Mazal Mualem
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Mazal Mualem

The Likud Central Committee will meet on Thursday to discuss the freeze on construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and is expected to approve a proposal that settlement construction be promoted. The decision was made after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lifted his opposition to the proposal, forwarded by the rightist faction in the party, even though he has yet to decide whether he will participate in the meeting.

Netanyahu had managed to delay a discussion on the freeze in settlement construction for months, including during a vote at the Central Committee of the party that was initiated by MK Danny Danon, one of the heads of his opposition inside the party. However, this time he will not oppose the initiative and he may even support it.

Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuCredit: Tomer Appelbaum

On Sunday, Shalom Shlomo, a political adviser to the prime minister, informed Danon that Netanyahu is not opposed to the proposal.

The draft proposal aims to bolster settlement of Jerusalem and the West Bank as the hiatus in construction nears its September 26 end. Sources close to Netanyahu say that he had already said that at the end of the freeze period construction will resume, therefore there is no reason for him to oppose the draft proposal because it fits with his intentions.

According to the proposal, the Central Committee aims to support settlement in the West Bank. The party favors continued construction and development in all parts of the country, including the Negev and the Galilee, Jerusalem and the West Bank.

"We are preparing for September," Danon said. "The prime minister has promised to continue building in Jerusalem and we will be on guard against him and the ministers."

Senior members of the party say that it would be wrong to attribute any extraordinary significance to Netanyahu's support for the proposal, and say it does not indicate a move to the right.

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