New government issued tenders for settlement building is the best response to the Palestinian Authority's rejection of Israel as a Jewish state
, said settlers leaders on Monday night.
“We call on the prime minister not just to
stand behind the fact that the freeze [on new settlement construction] has not
been extended but to issue new [building] tenders [for the settlements],” Efrat
Local Council Chairman Oded Revivi said.RELATED
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Efrat is one of several
settlements where new building is largely frozen without such
Revivi and other settler leaders spoke with The Jerusalem Post
in the aftermath of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the Knesset,
in which the premier offered to impose a new moratorium on construction if the
Palestinian Authority would recognize that Israel was a Jewish state.
PA immedately rejected the offer.
“From the PA’s response we all
understand that there is no partner for negotiations,” Revivi
Karnei Shomron Local Council Chairman Herzl Ben-Arie said, “The
Palestinians are not ready for peace or negotiations.”
To Netanyahu he
said, “Be brave and issue new tenders.” As in Efrat, construction in his
settlement is frozen without them.
A number of settler leaders added that
the prime minister’s offer was dangerous in that it strengthened the United
States’s belief that Netanyahu could be swayed to curb or stop settlement
“He [Netanyahu] had to know that the Palestinians would not
accept it,” Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel said. But making the gesture
“opened the door for the US to pressure Israel to impose a new
“The Americans and the Palestinians have to know that it is
terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah that are stumbling blocks to
peace, and not the settlements,” Kashriel said.
He added that if Israel
continues to make concessions, it will have nothing left to barter with when it
Samaria Citizens’ Committee chairman Benny Katzover
said, “I am sorry that the leader of the Right has placed a question mark on our
future and has invited, with his own hand, international pressure on the
government of Israel.”
But Alfei Menashe Local Council Chairman Hisdai
Eliezer said that he would support a second moratorium, if it was followed by
massive construction. He added that Netanyahu was correct in insisting that the
Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
“The time has come to
tell the Palestinians that we are here and that they should recognize that we
have a Jewish state,” Eliezer said. “If the price of that recognition is a
second moratorium, then [such a gesture] is a well-thought out, worthy and
Naftali Bennett, the director-general of the Council of
Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, didn’t address the
issue of a second moratorium, but said he applauded Netanyahu for insisting that
the Palestinians have to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
understand why Israel is continuing to negotiate even a minute longer when [the
Palestinians] do not even accept and recognize Israel as a Jewish state,”
Dani Dayan, chairman of the council, said that it was
forbidden for Israel to curb or stop settlement construction under any
“The settlements are the core of Israel’s strength and
should not become hostage to Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas],” said
He added that a second moratorium was a diplomatic trap that would
destroy Netanyahu’s credibility.