Left wing MKs: E1 West Bank settler rally meant to sabotage peace process

Meretz leader says demonstrators' demand to build in E1 meant to split W. Bank in 2, prevent Palestinian state from having territorial contiguity.

February 14, 2014 10:18
2 minute read.
Zehava Gal-On

Zehava Gal-On 521. (photo credit: Courtesy: Dor Gerbash)


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Left wing politicians lashed out at right wing politicians for their participation in a rally on Thursday evening in a contested area of the West Bank, saying they set out to sabotage any chance of reaching a peace settlement with the Palestinians. 

"The participation of minsters from the government and Knesset MKs reveals Netanyahu's [Prime Minister Binyamin] two-headed monster," Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said on Friday.

The rally on Thursday took place at E1, which is an uninhabited area of the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim. Settler leaders and Right-wing politicians at the rally called for the state to build homes for Jews in the area.

"Today it is clear that in the framework of a peace deal the city of Ma'aleh Adumim will remain under Israeli sovereignty," Gal-On said. 

But she added that the populist calls at the rally of Housing Minster Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehud) and Transportation and Road Safety Minister Israel Katz (Likud) were intended to be "spokes in the wheels" of the diplomatic process.

Gal-On said that Katz and Ariel know that building in E1 would divide east Jerusalem from the Palestinian populated areas of the West Bank and it would lead to complete Israeli control of the eastern part of the capital.  The building would hinder the possibility for east Jerusalem to be a capital of a future Palestinian state, would split the West Bank in two and would prevent the Palestinian state from having any territorial contiguity, the Meretz leader added.

Katz said at the rally Thursday that he came to strengthen the settlement movement and to lend his voice to the call to build E1.

“Anyone who opposes building in E1 is opposed to placing the entire Ma’aleh Adumim bloc within [Israel’s final borders], and they shouldn’t fool themselves about this,” Katz said.

“They are threatening us with a boycott, but I reject this. Once we spoke of the rights that come from our forefathers, then security and then we spoke of the demographic problem. Now they speak of boycotts.

That is the new ideology. If you do not act, there will be a boycott.

“We are not afraid of a boycott. We will continue to build settlements and all of Israel,” he said.

Like Gal-On, Labor MK Nachmnan Shai also criticized the politicians who participated in the settler rally.

"The demonstration yesterday is clearly an attempt to send a message to Netanyahu that he does not have the coalition to achieve an agreement with the Palestinians," Shai told Israel Radio.  

Accusing the the participants at the rally of sabotaging the peace process Shai said they were like "people in a boat drilling holes in its hull in order to make it sink."  

Minister Ariel told Israel Radio on Friday that he took part in the rally "in order to strenghten the prime minister during the negotiations with the Palestinians. 

With regard to rumors that his party, the Bayit Yehudi, would abandon the government coalition only to be replaced by another party, he said he had no time to consider such rumors because he was too busy building.   

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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