Netanyahu Forms Task Force to Monitor Settlement Freeze

The team, which includes Barak and Begin, will draw up measures to ease life for settlers during moratorium.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Friday to assemble a task force to monitor the implementation of a construction freeze in West Bank settlements.

The team will be made up of Barak; Benny Begin, minister without portfolio; Zvi Hauser, the cabinet secretary; and Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, the coordinator of government activities in the territories.

The move came after inspectors delivering freeze orders to the settlements had been met with acts of violence in recent days.

Netanyahu's bureau relayed that the task force would examine how the moratorium could be implemented in full, but with the greatest possible consideration for the needs of the settlers.

The task force held its first meeting on Friday afternoon, and will continue its work on Sunday in order to find solutions that will ease life for settlers. The bureau added that the group's goal will be to formulate a package of measures to ease life during the construction freeze, which Netanyahu launched as a confidence-building gesture to get peace efforts with the Palestinians back on track.

On Friday, Settler leaders pledged to take advantage of the weekend lull in the Defense Ministry's active enforcement of the freeze by stepping up construction in their community.

Ministry officials have warned, however, that settlers who defy the freeze over the weekend will be stopped. "Inspectors will return on Sunday and halt any construction activity, should there be," said associates of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.