Leaders of Jewish settlement in the occupied territories said they will do all what they can to counter the Israeli Government’s decision to temporarily freeze settlement activities in the occupied territories. Leader of the Yesha Council of Settlements, Danny Dayan, told the Israeli Ynet News that settlement construction must be continued with the same power it was carried out before.

Settler leaders were angered by the statements of Motti Yogev, the deputy head of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council,who said that settlers must accept the temporary settlement freeze so that Israel can gather international support to ‘counter the Iranian threat’.

Dayan said that he cannot agree with Yogev, and that Israel should not restrict the construction of settlements in what he described as “the Jewish Home”.

He added that Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that settlement freeze is meant to prove that Arab countries are using settlement activities as an excuse for not holding peace talks with Israel.

Dayan further stated that this issue should push the Israelis to hold a mass protest outside Netanyahu’s office this coming Wednesday evening.

Leader of the so-called Samaria Settlers’ Committee, Yossi Dagan, said that ‘asking the Jews to pay a high price to live in their homeland is anti-Semitic’, the Ynet said.

Dagan also said that using Iran as an excuse to halt settlement activities in unacceptable, and added that the leaders who cannot withstand the pressure will use the Iranian threat or even the war in Iraq or Afghanistan as an excuse.

Meanwhile, the Mateh Benjamin Regional Council issued a press release stating that the statements of Yogev do not represent the council’s stand.

In an interview with the Ynet, Dagan said that settler leaders would have accepted the temporary settlement freeze if it was presented as a means that boosts Israel’s strategic alliance.

He said that this should have been conducted through talks with settler leaders and should have taken into consideration what he described as educational and natural growth needs.

Besides the basic fact that settlements are considered war crimes and violate the International Law, they also prevent the natural growth of the Palestinians and are built on the expense of the Palestinian lands.

The Palestinian territories in the West Bank, including in and around East Jerusalem, are choked by the illegal Israeli settlements and the Annexation Wall. This is besides that ongoing illegal Israeli policies of home demolitions especially in the Jerusalem area.