West Bank won't be part of Israel, Labor leader Michaeli says

"It's a shame to invest in a place that at the end of the day, won't be part of Israel," said Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli.

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

There is no point in investing in West Bank transportation, given that the area won't be part of Israel in the future, Labor Party leader and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli said.

She spoke during an exchange with an audience at Channel 12, in which she was asked why she had frozen transportation projects for settlers in Judea and Samaria.

Michaeli said that she had not frozen any projects but had not started new ones.

"It's a shame to invest in a place that at the end of the day, won't be part of Israel," she said. 

Backlash against Michaeli's West Bank position

Shlomo Ne'eman, who heads both the Yesha Council and the Gush Etzion Regional Council, took exception to her words.

 Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley heads of councils attend a press conference of the Yesha Council outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, August 12, 2021 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley heads of councils attend a press conference of the Yesha Council outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, August 12, 2021 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Michaeli "is promoting an extreme and dangerous agenda" in which it's acceptable to have transportation on the Sabbath but pointless to provide for residents of Judea and Samaria, he said.

Ne'eman accused Michaeli of halting work on vital arteries in the region including the tunnel road leading to Gush Etzion, which he said serves both Israelis and Palestinians.

He said he hoped voters would elect a right-wing government that would replace the one she belongs to.

"On November 1st, a government will be elected that believes in our right to this land and nothing less than the fact that unlike you, it will take care of the citizens of Israel in every corner of the country," Ne'eman said. 

"It's a shame to invest in a place that at the end of the day, won't be part of Israel."

Labor Party leader and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli

Labor's position on West Bank

The left-wing Labor party is part of the coalition led by Prime Minister Yair Lapid. Labor has traditionally supported a two-state resolution to the conflict that has included the retention of high-population areas of Area C of the West Bank, known as the settlement blocs. The Meretz party in contrast believes in a withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.

Michaeli spoke, as she and Meretz party leader Zahava Gal-On are vying for support among left-wing voters in the final days of the election.

In this election, the Labor party has spoken of the importance of shifting from "managing the conflict" to "advancing a diplomatic initiative." It's expected to unveil such an initiative this afternoon in Tel Aviv.