Jerusalem: Israel`s right-wing Likud party
was on Thursday debating a motion to back the expansion of Jewish
settlements in the occupied West Bank, with an eye to a
building spurt when a moratorium on construction expires in
Some 2,500 members of the party`s policy-making central
committee were debating the motion which "supports building
and developing throughout the Land of Israel including...
Greater Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria."
Judea and Samaria are the biblical names for the West
Bank Greater Jerusalem includes mainly Arab east Jerusalem,
which was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and
annexed immediately after.
The debate was proposed by hardline legislator Danny
Danon in a bid to emphasise the party`s wholehearted support
for a return to construction when the freeze expires in
September, although neither the moratorium nor the deadline
was mentioned in the wording of the draft resolution.
"The essence of today`s decision is that the Likud
movement is saying to its leaders, Knesset members, ministers,
the prime minister: `We are committed to building in Judea and
Samaria on September 26` when the (freeze) order runs out and
we resume building," he told Israel`s educational TV channel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reluctantly imposed a
10-month ban on new building last November following months of
US demands for gestures to help relaunch peace talks with the
Palestinians suspended during the 2008-2009 Gaza war.
But the Palestinians dismissed the move as insufficient
because it did not include projects already under way, public
buildings or east Jerusalem, which they claim as the capital
of their future state.