(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Construction must continue all over Israel, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein wrote Tuesday, following US criticism of government plans to build homes and infrastructure in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
“Against the background of American condemnation, I [support] the government and the prime minister for his intention to authorize construction and development in Judea and Samaria,” Edelstein said.
The speaker pointed out that 350,000 Jews live in the West Bank, which he called an “important area.”
He said most of the Jewish residents were dedicated to the country and did not deserve to be discriminated against.
“Just like we must develop the North and South, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the student villages and neighborhoods in Samaria, Gush Etzion and Har Homa should be developed,” he said.
Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom also expressed support for building.
“The prime minister’s words were clear, correct and true. We cannot prevent any construction in Jerusalem. Most Israelis accept that,” he stated at a cornerstone-laying ceremony in the Negev.
Referring to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s Monday visit to the Temple Mount, Shalom said, “Can there be a situation in which the Palestinian prime minister visits the Temple Mount and we disconnect from Jerusalem? That is not possible or logical.”
Meanwhile, opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) reiterated remarks from the speech he’d made Monday at the Knesset winter session’s opening ceremony, saying that all of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s words did nothing for Jerusalem.
“We should build Jerusalem, but we should have a diplomatic plan in cooperation with our neighbors and take moderates in the region into consideration,” he told Israel Radio.
Herzog also said Netanyahu was intentionally worsening ties with the US, and wondered why he would do so.