JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel’s defense minister is expanding his force of West Bank construction inspectors to enforce a settlement freeze declared by the government.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered his office Sunday to train 40 inspectors to make sure the settlement freeze is observed. Only 14 inspectors are deployed there now.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week announced a 10-month moratorium on new housing construction in the West Bank to help jump- start peace talks. Settler leaders have vowed to defy the order.
About 300,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, an area Palestinians claim for a future state. The Palestinians have said the freeze is insufficient because it does not include east Jerusalem, their would-be capital, or stop projects already under way.