Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, stated during a Wednesday night meeting with heads of West Bank settlements, that West Bank settlement blocs are an important part of Israel.
He added that settlements in the occupied Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea are very important to Israel and will never be evacuated.
Israeli Ynet News reported that Hasdai Eliezer, head of Alfie Menashe settlement council, Mutzo Dahnam, head of Megliot settlement council, David Elhayani, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, and Oranit Settlement Council head Shumu Langer, attended the meeting.
Several settlement council leaders in the West Bank rejected Barak’s call to attend the meeting.
Barak said that the appeals committee, which was formed on Wednesday to receive applications rejecting settlement freeze, will provide official responses within 14 days. He added that the government recruited 40 inspectors to enforce settlement freeze, which does not include Jerusalem and the Jordan valley.
He told the settlers that it is difficult for the government to issue a freeze order, but added that it is the government’s responsibility and the responsibility of settlement heads to abide by the law.
Barak added that some constructions and the constructions of pergolas and technical infrastructure for the settlements can be done with the authorization of settlement council heads.
The Israeli Defense Minister held a separate meeting with Hasdai Eliezer, head of Alfie Menashe settlement council, and told him that settlement blocs are not “up for any negotiations”, and will always remain as an integral part of Israel.