PM rebuffs faction’s calls to build new settlements

"We are currently in a very difficult international situation," Netanyahu tells Likud members in response to settler complaints.

February 28, 2011 21:37
1 minute read.
PM rebuffs faction’s calls to build new settlements

settlers maoz esther . (photo credit: )

Governmental efforts in Judea and Samaria must go toward maintaining settlement building currently taking place rather than new tenders, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Likud parliamentarians during Monday’s faction meeting.

He spoke in response to complaints by settler leaders that the larger West Bank Jewish communities had used up their permits and, as such, no new building can be undertaken.

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In recent weeks a number of high-level ministers have made statements calling for new construction in settlements such as Beitar Illit, Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel and Efrat.

“I am the prime minister and I have responsibility for the country. We could beat our heads against the wall, but I don’t act like that,” Netanyahu said.

“There is building in Judea and Samaria,” he went on. “It is true that in some places there are no tenders, and that is being looked-into. We are currently investing efforts in maintaining existing building.

We are currently in a very difficult international situation, and the American veto in the Security Council was only achieved with great effort. We could ignore everything and say ‘no problem,’ but as a prime minister who is responsible for this country I have general responsibility.”

Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said that former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir would not have responded that way.

“At a time when Israel must show its continued resolve against Palestinian blackmail, where the Palestinians continuously refuse to come to the negotiating table unless Israel gives in to their demands, the prime minister seems to be playing directly into their hands with statements like these,” Dayan said. “We are therefore deeply concerned that the government will once again succumb to the pressures of the international community led by the Obama administration, and try to again freeze our families’ natural rights to build and grow.”

Naftali Bennett, the council’s director general, said “It is about time we realized that by making continuous unwarranted concessions to the international community, we do not gain sympathy and respect, but rather its scorn and contempt.”

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