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Likud denies Netanyahu pledge to freeze settlement construction

Israel Hayom newspaper said on Wednesday that Israel’s ruling Likud Party has denied reports that the party’s leader and prime minister made a pledge during its weekly caucus meeting to freeze the construction of settlements.

According to the party, Benjamin Netanyahu did not rule out construction in Judea and Samaria (the Zionist term for the occupied West Bank), and even said that he will promote construction in the settlement of Beit El, north of Ramallah. The Border Police camp in the settlement would be relocated to allow this to happen. The Israeli prime minister, it is claimed, has said that he will enhance the settlement project “with wisdom and responsibility” given the complex international situation.

“A government that does not build in Judea and Samaria loses its right to exist,” insisted the Yesha Council, which promotes the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in a statement on Tuesday. “The claim that Prime Minister Netanyahu safeguards settlements through freezing construction has been refuted. The right way to safeguard the settlement project lies in development and construction.”

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