Judea and Samaria are in turmoil right now. Police are fighting with the settlers over Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to suspend all new construction within the West Bank for the next ten months. In scenes reminiscent of the 2005 "disengagement" from the Gaza strip, police are scuffling with settlers as they blockade the entrances into the settlements. The settlers are trying to keep government inspectors from entering and issuing orders to stop construction.
Leaders and local residents fear they may suffer the same fate as the 21 Jewish towns in the Gush Katif settlement bloc in Gaza in 2005. "Our fight is to prevent another evacuation of Jews," said Binyamin citizen's committee chairman Itzik Shadmi. "You have to understand that what is happening here is the prelude to an evacuation and anyone who does not understand this is not facing the truth," Shami told area residents, stressing the importance of nonviolent resistance.
Netanyahu though has made it clear this is only a temporary halt to construction. At Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said the government's decision proves Israel is serious about pursuing peace with the Palestinians. For its part, the Palestinian authority summarily rejected the freeze because it doesn't include Jerusalem or the 3,000 housing units in Judea and Samaria already under construction.
In the nearly two weeks since the moratorium began, Netanyahu has met twice with leaders of Judea and Samaria to hear their concerns and discuss problems emanating from the freeze. At Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu reiterated his promise to community leaders: "Upon conclusion of the period of suspension, construction will resume…I would like to remove any doubts…this is a one-time and temporary decision, not a freeze of unlimited and infinite duration."
Despite Netanyahu's pledge, settlers and their supporters are planning a mass demonstrate Wednesday night in front of the prime minister's Jerusalem residence.
Watch video below of the recent protests as well as comments from two Israeli cabinet members.