Ariel visits Kochav Ya’akov settlement, pledges more building

Construction and housing minister says he sees potential for over a 1,000 homes in the West Bank settlement.

Uri Ariel speaking to reporters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Uri Ariel speaking to reporters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said on Tuesday he would be ready to put on the market 1,000 new homes in the Kochav Yaakov settlement if given the green light to do so.
“We are building and we will continue to build,” he said.
“In the next few months, building will begin here on 200 new homes,” he said during a visit to the settlement, located in the Binyamin region of the West Bank, just outside of Jerusalem.
“But what makes me even happier is that there is a potential here for over 1,000 homes that can be ready within a few months, with the finalization of planning and marketing,” he said.
He spoke one day before the second round of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, scheduled to be held Wednesday in Jerusalem.
“On the eve of the talks, we have to say that thousands of homes will be built in Judea and Samaria in the next year,” said Ariel.
“That is clear. I am sorry we are not building more, we will try to build more,” he said.
In response to international pressure against Israel to stop building over the pre- 1967 lines, he said: “We won’t accept dictates on where we can build, there is no area where we will refrain from building.”
On Wednesday, he said, he plans to visit Sde Dov in Tel Aviv, for an event that marks the release of land for thousands of new housing units.
He pledged to work to solve the country’s housing crisis and reduce prices by building in all parts of the country, on both sides of the pre-1967 lines.
Young people in every sector of society deserve housing, he said.
Ariel said he had an obligation to build not just because he was a minister or a member of the Bayit Yehudi party, “but because I am Jew in the Land of Israel.”
“We do not need a permit to build in the Land of Israel,” he said. “We will build every place.” This will also include construction in the settlements of Karnei Shomron, Ariel and Kiryat Arba.
He added that when it came to building, he saw no difference between land within and without the Green Line.
In response to a question from the audience about whether he supported annexing Area C of the West Bank to Israel, he said it was an option that should be considered.
His visit to Kochav Yaakov followed a trip he made on Monday to Jerusalem’s East Talpiot neighborhood, located over the pre-1967 lines, where he laid a cornerstone for a new 63-unit Jewish housing project.