Ben-Eliezer: Use settlement budget to solve housing crisis

August 2, 2011 09:28


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Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to shift the state's funding of West Bank settlements toward solving housing problems west of the Green Line, in an interview with Army Radio.

Recalling former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's initiative in the early 1990s to "shift budget priorities" from the settlements to building housing for immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, Ben-Eliezer said Netanyahu should do the same.

"I have nothing against [settlers]," he added, "but we're in an emergency situation" financially.

Additionally, Ben-Eliezer said, such a move would benefit Israel ahead of the planned Palestinian move to seek a declaration of statehood in the United Nations this September.

"In another month and a half, the world will recognize a new Palestinian state," he said. "Nobody knows what will happen then."

Ben-Eliezer also made a connection between the Arab Spring and the social protests taking place in Israel in recent weeks. The young generation, he said, "saw the Arab Spring and realized that the power lies in its hands," and that it has the power to make changes in the country.

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