Netanyahu, Edelstein hit back at ObamaNetanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein have both hit back at the Obama administration's criticism of Israeli construction in 'east' Jerusalem. This is from the first link.
Netanyahu, at a ground-breaking ceremony for a new port in Ashdod, said Israel would continue to build new ports, pave roads, lay rail road tracks and “continue to build in our eternal capital.”Arutz Sheva adds (quoting Netanyahu):
“I heard the claim that our building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem makes peace more distant, but it is the criticism itself that makes peace more distant,” Netanyahu said of criticism that poured in following his announcement of plans to develop 660 more units in Ramot Shlomo in the northern part of the city and 400 in the southern neighborhood of Har Homa.
This criticism, he said, is “detached from reality” and feeds false Palestinian hopes.
Netanyahu said the international community remains quiet when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “incites to the murder of Jews in Jerusalem,” but strongly condemns Israel when it builds in Jerusalem.
“I don't accept that double standard,” he said. “We built in Jerusalem, we build in Jerusalem, and we will continue to build in Jerusalem.”
"The French build in Paris, the English build in London - that's the same as Israel building in Jerusalem," he concluded. "We will continue to build in Jerusalem and will continue to build here in Ashdod."Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also slammed Obama.
"Building in Jerusalem is not something to be done under the table or under the cover of night," Edelstein told Arutz Sheva.
"It has been part of the policy of every Israeli government and anyone who even thinks that in a peace agreement we will need to evacuate (the Jerusalem neighborhoods) Gilo, Talpiot and Pisgat Ze'ev apparently doesn't understand what they're talking about," added the MK.
The Knesset Chairman emphasized that currently there are more than 350,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria, and "the overwhelming majority of them are people of action who are dedicated to the state, and there is no reason to discriminate between them and others."
"Just as the north and the south must be developed, and Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - so too there is room for student villages and neighborhoods in Samaria, Gush Etzion (in Judea) and Har Homa (in Jerusalem)," added Edelstein.
Meanwhile, Israel's Justice Minister and chief
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, meanwhile, decried the move in an Israel Radio interview, saying these types of steps will make it more difficult for Israel to thwart Palestinian efforts in the UN Security Council .Livni was apparently for building in Jerusalem before she was against it. But the problem is that Israel is not actually building in Jerusalem (or in Judea and Samaria).
Livni said while she feels that Israel has the right to build in Jerusalem, these announcements not only hurt Israel diplomatically, but also worsen the volatile security situation in the capital.
Indeed, many have argued that the solution to the current housing crisis in Israel lies precisely in the development of Judea and Samaria, a region which according to some estimates is over 90% unpopulated.
Instead, Netanyahu has until now imposed a covert freeze on Jewish construction. The newest announcements still leave much room for doubt as to whether they constitute a policy change, or are merely a case of political maneuvering giving the upcoming Likud primaries. Many similar announcements in the past have not actually led to any physical construction.And you thought the American government was weak?
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, East Jerusalem, Har Homa, Jerusalem construction, Judea and Samaria construction, Middle East peace process, Ramat Shlomo, Tzipi Livni, Yuli Edelstein