With pressures on Israel from world leaders to freeze settlement construction, settlers marking 30 years for Binyamin Regional Council, which covers 42 settlements in the West Bank, declared Thursday that they would keep building.
Thousands showed up for a rally in Latrun, including many residents of the West Bank Binyamin Regional Council .
Pinchas Wallershtein, who acted as council head for many years told Ynet, "When Netanyahu speaks of a Palestinian state - I hate it but I'm not worried because there won't be a peace agreement. When Netanyahu speaks about freezing it's an immediate death sentence for the settlement enterprise.
"There is no other place with a growth rate as high as in Mateh Binyamin and regretfully the death toll is also high, more than 80 people were murdered in the second Intifada. The residents' resilience is what will push us forward. You won't see a construction freeze in Binyamin."
Avi Roeh, current head of the Binyamin Regional Council added, "Our role is to look forward and not deal with the freeze. We have made tremendous progress since recent such actions. We continue to grow and expand. I do no accept the issue of construction freezing. It doesn’t exist in the Negev or in the Galilee. I have kindergartens, classrooms to create.
"What is going on today is a proper Zionistic reaction. After 30 years, the residents need to feel proud over what they achieved in collaboration with the government."
Celebrations in Latrun (Photo: Avi Moalem)
The regional council received a gift Thursday morning in the form of three new caravans which already inhabit three families from France. Sarah Pereg, who has been residing in the Kochav Yaakov settlement along with her husband and seven children for 20 years said, "God willing we will celebrate 60 years. This is our home. Even if we leave – where would we go? Where would we live? This is our country. We want to hold on to it."
Her husband, Zvi, added that they have always been settlers and will continue that way. "Everyone keeps talking about freezing and the result is that settlements keep growing," he said.
Adi and Yifat Rom, parents of three, have been residing in the Shvut Rachel settlement for four years. "We look at things from the convictional point of view – everything will be alright," Yifat said.
"The political issue is not a factor in our eyes. This is our home now. If not here, then somewhere else in Judaea and Samaria. God willing, what happened in Gush Katif won't repeat itself,"