As if last week’s combination of the announcement of the start of the freeze and the announcement of new construction wasn’t enough to convince people that the move was virtually meaningless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added that it was a “one-time, temporary” move.
“We shall resume building once the moratorium is over,” Netanyahu declared. Indeed, this isn’t technically the case either since construction will never actually stop during the 10 month “freeze.”
Instead, the government will refuse to issue new permits for a limited type of buildings in the existing settlements, while continuing thousands of approved projects and expanding construction in East Jerusalem, where the freeze has been declared to not apply.
The freeze fell well short of Palestinian demands to actually stop expanding the settlements, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said the freeze is for the benefit of the international community, which has praised the move, and not for the Palestinians, who have not.