Two senior members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet warned the premier late Sunday that more construction in Jewish settlements would further inflame already-tense ties with the United States.
Reacting to a Channel 2 report indicating that Netanyahu was nearing agreement with the pro-settler Bayit Yehudi party on more housing in the West Bank, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said the move is “irresponsible from both a diplomatic and security standpoint.”
“Plans for more construction, even if it’s in the settlement blocs, under such sensitive circumstances that we find ourselves in, is irresponsible from both a diplomatic and security standpoint,” she said. “The fear of publicly acknowledging that there is a construction freeze outside of the settlement blocs will lead to damage to the bloc themselves.”
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, meanwhile, said that more construction “at this stage would lead to a serious crisis in ties with the United States, and it would harm Israel’s international standing.”
Lapid said that while he is in principal not opposed to construction inside the settlement blocs, “at this stage it will cause damage to Israel.”