Likely adding fuel to Palestinian claims that the Israeli government’s promise of a 10-month settlement construction freeze doesn’t amount to anything of the sort, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved new construction in the West Bank.
Incredibly enough, the approvals come at the exact same time as Barak issued the “temporary freeze order,” which was being presented as halting new construction in the West Bank but actually only restricts permits of certain types of buildings for 10 months. 28 buildings are said to be included in the new construction.
Adding insult to injury, the Israeli government is also pressing the nation’s Supreme Court to allow it to delay the ordered destruction of illegal outposts – settlements which even the Israeli government concedes are not legal.
Israel has been contending with a growing mutiny among its more religious soldiers, some of whom are reportedly being told that they have to refuse the outpost evacuations on religious grounds. Still, the official reason for the delay request is the 10 month freeze, which it seems is making settlement construction less frozen than ever.