Kashriel: Building in E-1 won't prevent Palestinian state

The American insistence on preventing Israel from building on E-1 is a result of Palestinian disinformation, according to which Israeli presence in the area would effectively cut the West Bank into two cantons and prevent Palestinian access to east Jerusalem, Ma'aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel said Monday morning, rejecting the claim as "malarkey" and reminding the public that the original plans for E-1 development were initiated and approved by the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Speaking on Army Radio along with Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer, Kashriel lamented the fact that the zone only houses a police station, despite being planned as a Ma'aleh Adumim neighborhood. The government has refused to authorize construction on the undeveloped site, which lies within the municipal borders of Ma'aleh Adumim. Protesters led by Kashriel plan to bury a scroll inside a jar on the hilltop as part of a symbolic cornerstone-laying ceremony later on Monday. Oppenheimer charged that Ma'aleh Adumim was expanding to the east and west in order to prevent the possibility of a geographically undivided Palestinian state in the West Bank. He added that building on E-1 would prevent a peace arrangement with the Palestinians, who wouldn't be able to tolerate the territorial break and lack of convenient access to Jerusalem. Kashriel ended the interview by inviting Oppenheimer to attend the E-1 cornerstone ceremony.