ZOA called for ending freeze earlier this week
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly supports the call made by Israeli Minister of Information and Diaspora, Yuli Edelstein; Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz; Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon; Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom; Education Minister, Gideon Saar; Minister of Culture and Sports, Limor Livat and Minister of Transportation, Yisrael Katz to end the de facto freeze on new Jewish construction which the ZOA revealed yesterday and which it has called to be lifted. The current freeze represents a de facto continuation of the 10-month, unilateral freeze on new Jewish construction, which was to have expired on September 26, 2010.
Mr. Edelstein says he intends to call on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to authorize new construction in Judea and Samaria and, in the event that this does not occur, he will call for the government to strip Mr. Barak of his power to authorize settlement building and to create instead a new ministerial committee for Judea and Samaria that would permit such construction. Mr. Edelstein said, The prime minister understands that we cannot go on like this There will be and there must be a change in attitude. Mr. Katz said, We have to renew building in Judea and Samaria immediately (Tovah Lazaroff, Edelstein bids to force Barak to end silent freeze, Jerusalem Post, February 18, 2011).
On Wednesday, after Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman delivered a speech to a group of American Jewish leaders at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem, ZOA National President Morton A. Klein asked Minister Lieberman the following question: Ive been told by the mayors of Maale Adumim, Ariel and other Jewish communities, as well as by prominent Jewish figures in eastern Jerusalem, that virtually no new permits have been approved for the construction of Jewish homes in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem since the 10-month freeze was supposed to end in September 2010. Minister Lieberman, is this true? Is there a de facto freeze in place since the official, one-time 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria expired last September? Minister Lieberman responded with the following words, smiling: Im going to answer like many politicians do No comment, no comment, no comment. But, Morton, were going to change this.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We urge Prime Minister Netanyahu to fulfill the commitment he made to the Israeli electorate and in particular the Jews of Judea and Samaria to resume Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem following the expiration of the 10-month unilateral construction freeze. We urge him to heed and respond positively to the responsible demands of his senior ministers to resume construction and end the current situation in which homes, schools, kindergartens, factories and businesses cannot be built, resulting in unnecessary hardship and over-crowding of homes and facilities in these communities.