The cabinet on Sunday voted to freeze the annexation bill, and not bring it before the cabinet legislation committee.
Since President Donald Trump invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, sometime next month, both the annexation bill and any planned settlement construction will be informally put on hold until after the Trump-Netanyahu meeting.
Netanyahu told the cabinet he planned to announce major new construction in the “consensus blocks” in the near future. These are the relatively large towns close to the Green Line, such as the Etzion Block, Ma’ale Adumim and the Alfei Menashe-Oranit-Elkana block. These settlements, unlike those deep in Judea and Samaria are non-controversial. A large majority of Israelis support them, and want and expect them to remain in Israel as part of any peace agreement.
This does not include construction in Jerusalem. Yesterday the Jerusalem Municipality’s City Planning and Construction Committee, which approves new construction projects, approved the construction of over 600 apartments in Ramot, Ramat Shlomo and Pisgat Zeev. All three neighborhoods are considered contested neighborhoods, as they are over the Green Line.
The approved projects are not new, and have been waiting for approval for over a year. Every time the committee was about to approve them, the government ordered it not to, because of diplomatic pressure from the Obama administration