Lieberman: Fight Against Settlement Freeze Is 'Legitimate'

Foreign Minister says efforts must remain within bounds of law after settlers step up protests.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday that efforts by right-wing activists to prevent the implementation of a freeze on new construction in West Bank settlements were "legitimate" and "natural."

Lieberman, who himself lives in a settlement, told Israel Radio that steps to thwart the moratorium were acceptable, so long as they remained within the bounds of the law.

The foreign minister spoke after settlers and their supporters stepped up efforts this week to protest the freeze, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last week in a bid to restart peace talks with the Palestinians.

On Monday, dozens of Jewish youth attempted to block the entrance road to Jerusalem. Police were deployed to the area, and detained five teens for further questioning.

Earlier in the day, over a hundred police from the special patrol unit gathered on Monday at the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Levona to protect the defense officials entering the settlements to distribute construction freeze orders.

Hundreds of young right-wing activists blocked the entrances to Ma'aleh Levona and Revava, in an effort to prevent defense officials from distributing the orders.

Deputy Shomron Regional Council Chairman Reuven Gur Aryeh was lightly hurt during clashes between settlers and police, and taken to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah for treatment.