Opposition leader Isaac Herzog wrote Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Saturday, urging him not to announce new West Bank construction during negotiations with the Palestinians.
Soon after this week’s release of 26 Palestinian terrorists, Netanyahu is expected to announce plans for 600 new housing units in Jerusalem and 800 in the settlement blocs, and planning processes will be set in motion for another 1,000 units.
“Israel should be announcing a settlement freeze,” Herzog (Labor) wrote Netanyahu.
“There is no point in building when we are in the process of negotiating our final border.
It is a waste of resources that can be spent elsewhere and it makes it harder to reach an agreement.”
Herzog said such construction harms Israel’s international relations by showing a lack of faith in the negotiations with the Palestinians.
He said Israel does not gain credit from the international community for releasing Palestinian terrorists because the prisoner releases are accompanied and overshadowed by construction in the West Bank.
Labor MK Nachman Shai called upon Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to initiate a special debate in the parliament on the construction. He said the building could potentially torpedo the negotiations, harm relations with the United States and Europe and invite legal and economic and cultural pressure on Israel.
Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev accused Netanyahu of hypocrisy.
He said Netanyahu should do what is right for the country and not what the Likud central committee wants him to do.
“If you really want a final status deal, you don’t puncture the tires on the deal,” Bar-Lev said. “To guarantee the future of Zionism we need leadership that dos not zigzag for tactical considerations.”