Maaleh Adumim 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appeared to facing a new challenge from inside
his Likud Party on Thursday after no fewer than 19 of the 27 Likud MKs issued
statements calling for renewed construction in the cities of Judea and
The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza
Strip compiled a list of recent quotes from the lawmakers, who are upset that
the largest settlements are out of building permits, including Betar Illit,
Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel and Efrat.
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The new effort by the settlers’ council
was intended to send a message to Netanyahu, who told the Likud faction on
Monday that due to pressure from the international community, Israel needed to
concentrate on maintaining the building that is taking place in Judea and
Samaria rather than approve new construction.
“Netanyahu feels that he is
alone, under pressure from Obama and the world, but he is not,” council
director-general Naftali Bennett said.
“The entire government, the entire
Likud and the overwhelming majority of Israelis are telling Netanyahu: Just
build already. The only government since the Six Day War that has applied such a
freeze on the cities in Judea and Samaria is the Netanyahu
government. This is unacceptable.”
The list of quotes includes
ministers Moshe Ya’alon, Silvan Shalom, Yuval Steinitz, Gideon Sa’ar, Gilad
Erdan, Yuli Edelstein, Israel Katz and Limor Livnat, deputy ministers Ayoub Kara
and Leah Ness, and MKs Ze’ev Elkin, Danny Danon, Tzipi Hotovely, Tzion Pinyan,
Haim Katz, Yariv Levin, Miri Regev, Carmel Shama-Hacohen and Ophir
“The freeze is over and we must return to building throughout the
Land of Israel, because that’s the way it must be,” said Steinitz, who is close
to Netanyahu. “We made problematic gestures whose time has ended. The time has
come to return to building and getting built.”
Absent from the list were
dovish ministers Dan Meridor, Michael Eitan and Yossi Peled, Netanyahu himself,
recently promoted Social Welfare Minister Moshe Kahlon, and deputy minister Gila
Gamliel, who does not want to rock the boat when she wants to be a
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Minister-without- Portfolio
Bennie Begin, who both back building in Judea and Samaria, are not on the list,
because Rivlin feels he needs to be statesmanlike in his post, and because Begin
was sick this week.