Religious Zionism vows no West Bank settlement freeze amid reports of US pressure

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

A general view of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Efrat, January 30, 2023.  (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
A general view of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Efrat, January 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The far-right Religious Zionism party vows there will be no freeze in settlement construction in the West Bank following a report on the Axios news site that the US is pressuring Israel to halt construction.

“There will be no freeze on construction in Judea and Samaria. Period,” reads a statement from Religious Zionism, using the biblical names for the region.

The Axios report says that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze settlement construction as part of an effort to reduce tensions in the West Bank.

The Palestinian were asked to halt moves against Israel in international forums like the UN and the International Court of Justice.

Axios also reported that Israel refused to stop building, but said that it would reduce some of its actions.

Religious Zionism also promises to maintain “deterrence” against terror and to fight illegal Palestinian construction in the West Bank’s Area C. Much of the latter is built on so-called “open lands,” where Palestinians struggle to receive permits.

“There will be no damage to Israeli deterrence against terrorists. Period. There will be no continuation of illegal construction and Arab takeover of the open areas. Period,” the party says.

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