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Articles on Violations of Settlement Freeze

According to Defense Ministry figures, construction continues in dozens of settlements in violation of building moratorium. Peace Now: 'Begin was right - freeze means nothing'

Jerusalem Post: "29 settlements defy freeze order"

Ynet: "Defense Ministry: Building in 29 settlements despite freeze"

BBC News: "Israeli settlers 'still building'"

JTA: "Many settlements violating building freeze, Israel says"

Ha'aretz: "Defense Ministry reveals West Bank settlement freeze abuses"


Jerusalem Post: "29 settlements defy freeze order"


Twenty-nine West Bank Jewish communities are in violation of the 10-month moratorium on new construction in the settlements, according to Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i.

He made the statement in writing, in a mandated response to a direct question posed to him by Meretz chairman Haim Oron, through a question and answer system in the Knesset.

He added that enforcement action had been initiated, including the issuance of demolition orders. Further action is being weighed, he said.

Although he gave his response on January 26, Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said that Oron received it only a few days ago.

Peace Now circulated it to the media on Sunday night. It added that it believes there have been violations of the housing-start moratorium in 33 settlements.

The NGO has posted two videos on YouTube to show that settlers are building illegally. Peace Now has alleged that in Talmon and Neria, workers have been working during Shabbat.

It further alleged that the Ministry of Construction and Housing had allowed contractors in the Betar Illit settlement to market homes frozen by the moratorium and as such, not yet built.

Settlements that Vilna'i said had violated the freeze include: Adam (Geva Binyamin), Oranit, Eilon Moreh, Alfei Menashe, Elkana, Beit Aryeh, Betar Illit, Barkan, Givat Ze'ev, Har Gilo, Talmon, Yakir, Kfar Eldad (Nokdim), Kfar Etzion, Ma'aleh Adumim, Ma'aleh Shomron, Matityahu, Nokdim, Imanuel, Etz Efrayim, Psagot, Zufim, Kedumim, Rosh Zurim, Revava, Shadmot Mechola, Sha'arei Tikva and Tekoa.

Although he spoke of 29 violations, he listed Givat Ze'ev twice.

Peace Now added that it believed the settlements of Elazar, Kochav Hashahar, Nili, Kiryat Arba and Kfar Tapuach were also ignoring the moratorium.

The moratorium allows work to continue on 3,000 Jewish homes in the West Bank that had foundations in place at the end of November.

The moratorium requires that work be halted on all homes that lacked a foundation.

The Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip denounced the Peace Now report.

It charged that Peace Now, like other organizations funded from abroad, was part of an organized campaign of lies and half truths designed to harm both the state of Israel and the settlement movement.

"We're talking about people who have never planted a tree, or built a home, but who are placing a stick in the wheels of the Zionist enterprise," the council said in a statement it released to the media.

It noted with satisfaction the fact that the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria reached 320,000 in 2009, a 5.5 percent increase over the previous year.


Ynet: "Defense Ministry: Building in 29 settlements despite freeze"

by Efrat Weiss

While the cabinet's announcement of a construction moratorium imposed in West Bank settlements stirred up a fury of public debate, in actuality, settlement building continues, and not just at a negligible pace.

Official numbers from the Defense Ministry show that violations of the building freeze orders were found in no less than 29 settlements. Peace Now reported that they have information about construction in five additional settlements being carried out behind the backs of Civil Administration inspectors. The leftist organization claims that work is being done on Saturdays when inspectors are not on duty.

The figures were presented by Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai in response to a query issued by Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron. Topping the list of settlements are some of the larger settlements such as: Maale Adumim, Givat Ze'ev, Alfei Menashe, Beitar Illit, and Emanuel.

In addition, violations were also recorded in Nokdim, where Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman lives, and the nearby settlement of Tekoa. Also on the list of violators were Revava, Ma'ale Shomron, Matityahu, Beit Aryeh-Ofarim, Kedumim, Kfar Etzion, and more.

Vilnai also reported that designated enforcement efforts have been initiated against the said violators, including demolition and stop work orders. In his response, he said that Defense Ministry officials are looking into the option of imposing additional enforcement measures in accordance with their priorities and in line with all relevant considerations.

The deputy minister reported that construction equipment was confiscated in a number of instances. Peace Now responded angrily to these incidents, as well as to the work being done on Saturdays, and claimed that building is being carried out during the night in order to evade inspectors.

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said in response to Vilnai's report: "Minister Begin was correct when he assured the settlers that the building freeze has no real significance."


BBC News: "Israeli settlers 'still building'"

At least 29 Israeli settlements in the West Bank are violating a government-ordered pause in building activity, the Israeli Defence Ministry has said.

The information was released in response to a question asked in Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

A pressure group says there are at least four more settlements disregarding the government order.

The group, Peace Now, says Jewish settlers are working during the night and on the sabbath to avoid notice.

Peace Now says building work is continuing in at least 33 settlements in violation of an order to stop made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November.

Stalled talks

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said they have learned the government was looking at ways to enforce the no-building rule.

In November, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a 10-month cessation of building new settlements.

According to Peace Now, building on existing settlements has continued.

The information was released by the defence ministry following a question asked by Haim Oron of the left-wing Meretz party.

US attempts to revive peace talks have stalled over the Jewish settlement issue.

Palestinians say they will not return to peace talks unless Israel stops settlement building in the West Bank.

Israel has a long-standing commitment under an existing peace plan to stop settlement growth.

But the Israeli government has temporarily curbed construction as a goodwill gesture, though not in East Jerusalem.

All settlements in the the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.


JTA: "Many settlements violating building freeze, Israel says"

February 15, 2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Some 29 West Bank settlements have violated the construction freeze, Israel's Defense Ministry reported.

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai on Monday released a list of the settlements that have continued construction despite a 10-month freeze announced in late November by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Peace Now said Monday that it had identified five additional settlements that also have continued building despite the freeze.

The freeze, which does not cover buildings for which a foundation had already been laid before its start, was announced in a bid to bring the Palestinians to the peace negotiating table, but the Palestinians have refused to resume negotiations until all construction in all settlements and eastern Jerusalem is halted.

Vilnai said officials have attempted to enforce the freeze in the settlements listed as violators, including issuing demolition and stop work orders. Other measures could be taken, he said. Construction equipment also has been confiscated.


Ha'aretz: "Defense Ministry reveals West Bank settlement freeze abuses"

By Chaim Levinson and Haaretz Service

Security sources have found and made public 28 incidents of settlements violating the ten-month building freeze in the West Bank declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Haaretz learned on Monday.

Responding to an appeal made by Meretz MK Haim Oron to clarify alleged settlement freeze infringements, deputy defense minister, Matan Vilnai, responded by that saying "The court order to halt construction has been given out. The implementation of the building freeze will be examined."

On Monday, Vilani released a list of settlements violating the building freeze, which included Tekoa, Etz Efraim, Revava, Alfe Menashe, Ma'ale Shomron, Psagot, Beit Arye, Emanuel, Kedumim, Barkan, Beitar Illit, Ma'ale Addumim and Kfar Etzion.

The left wing group Shalom Achshav claims there are building violations also in the settlements of Kokhav HaShahar, Nili, Kiryat Arba, Elazar.

These violations are in addition to outpost building, which has continued at a steady pace.

On Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation discussed a privately sponsored bill on compensating settlers hurt by the recent construction freeze. The bill, initiated by MK Danny Danon (Likud), is supported by 16 MKs from different parties and suggests setting up a compensation system modeled on the one used for the evacuees of the disengagement from Gaza in 2005.

"This bill requests a claims committee be set up, in order to assist and transfer compensations to the settlers of Judea and Samaria," the introduction to the bill read.

"The committee would have four members: A representative from the Prime Minister's Office, a representative of the Interior Ministry, a representative of public interest to be appointed by the justice minister in consultation with chairmen of local councils the area, and a magistrate judge - appointed by the justice minister in consultation with the director of the courts - who will chair the committee."

"The committee would be responsible for determining a claimant's eligibility for compensation, the scope of his eligibility and the sum of his compensation," the document continues. "It will be set up no later than 60 days after the date marking the beginning of the construction freeze, and it will operate a Web site that provides access to contact the committee and see its details, schedule and decisions."

The bill sets the deadline for claims at five years after the beginning of the freeze, and says the committee will be obliged to pay out the compensation no later than 60 days after its decision. Compensation claims would be filed either in writing or through the committee site, the proposition said.