PM: Ariel is the 'capital of Samaria'

"We are continuing to build," Netanyahu vows after planting tree in West Bank.

January 29, 2010 13:47
Netanyahu plants a tree at Kfar Etzion, Sunday

Netanyahu plants a tree at Kfar Etzion, Sunday. (photo credit: GPO)


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Ariel is the "capital of Samaria" and an "indisputable" part of Israel, pledged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday afternoon just after he planted a tree in the fourth largest settlement city in the West Bank.

The move comes in the midst of stalled peace talk with the Palestinians who have insisted they will not resume negotiations with Israel until it stops building in settlements.

Israel has imposed a 10-month moratorium on new settlement construction. But this week, in honor of the Tu B'Shvat holiday which celebrates the new year for trees, Netanyahu visited settlements for the first time since he took office late last March.

On Sunday, he planted a tree in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in Kfar Etzion and in the settlement city of Ma'ale Adumim. On Friday, he came to Ariel accompanied by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and National Security Adviser Uzi Arad as well as Likud MKs Danny Danon, Ophir Akunis and Tzipi Hotovely.

"Everyone who understands the geography of Israel know how important Ariel is. It is the heart of our country.  We are here where are forefathers were, and we will stay here," said Netanyahu who added that the area was important from a both from a security and historic point of view, said Netanyahu.

He promised Ariel that it could complete a cultural center in the city to support its growing intellectual life that is fed by the Ariel University Center of Samaria that is also located in that city.

He said that some of Israel's Arab neighbors had made peace with the Jewish state and that he hoped others would follow suit.

"We want to co-exist with our neighbors, but we can't stop our lives here," Netanyahu said.

"We will continue to build. I came here after I was in Ma'ale Adumim and in Gush Etzion where we planted trees. We said in a clear way that we will stay in these areas in any future final status agreement with the Palestinians. We need to help it develop," said Netanyahu. 

"These areas will be an integral part of Israel and I say the same thing today in Ariel, the capital of Samaria," said Netanyahu.

As part of the ceremony for Netanyahu in Ariel, he was joined on the stage by Adva Anter 15, of Ariel who noted that both she and the prime minister came from bereaved families.

Netanyahu, she said, had lost his brother Yoni who was killed when he lead an IDF mission to the Entebee airport in in 1976 to rescue hostages. She lost two of her brothers in the 2002 terror attack against an Israeli hotel in Kenya.

"I am asking God to give you the strength and the ability to ensure our future here in Ariel, that like the tree you planted, our roots will be here in Ariel forever," she said.

Netanyahu said that her story showed the difference between and their enemies, "They have come to destroy and we have come to build. May you continue to sprout roots here in the land," he said.

Netanyahu said that her story showed the difference between and their enemies, "They have come to destroy and we have come to build. May you continue to sprout roots here in the land," he said.

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