Eli Yishai 311 aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that the government will continue to advance new construction projects in Jerusalem, and that it is clear there will not be a building moratorium in the capital.
"I thank G-d that I have the right to serve as a minister who approves [the construction of] thousands of housing units in Jerusalem," Yishai said in an interview with the Shas-affiliated newspaper Yom le'Yom published on Thursday.
The minister reportedly went on to claim that all the left-wing people in Israel share the goal of "a small Jewish Jerusalem, without east Jerusalem and the Arab neighborhoods," as well as "stopping the growth of the haredi community in the capital."
The Interior Ministry was recently at the center of a crisis in US-Israel ties, when a plan to build 1,600 housing units in Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood was approved by a ministerial committee during US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel.
Washington, the EU, the UN, and the Palestinian Authority all criticized Israel for the move.
Despite international criticism, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reiterated that Israel will not freeze construction in Jerusalem, telling AIPAC on Monday that “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.”
He pointed out that all Israeli governments had built in Jerusalem over
those lines and that nearly half the city’s Jewish population lived
there. “They are an integral and inextricable part of modern Jerusalem.
Everyone knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any
peace settlement,” Netanyahu told the audience. “Therefore, building
them in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution.”
In related news, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast,
criticized Netanyahu's recent statement that Israel will continue to
build in east Jerusalem.
"Netanyahu's argument clearly indicates the Zionist government's
aggressive nature," Mehmanparast said, according to Channel 10. "The
Zionist entity is a terrorist state and should be eradicated," the
Iranian official reportedly added.