Yishai thanks God for right to approve construction in Jerusalem
Minister behind decision that sparked diplomatic crisis with US tells Shas weekly, 'American's conduct bolsters Abbas,' adding 'Israelis voted for this government's path, according to which there will be no compromises on Jerusalem issue'
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that he thanks God "for giving me the right to be the minister who approves the construction of thousands of housing units in Jerusalem".
"The Americans' conduct as of late bolsters Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and provides him with excuses to refuse to negotiate," Yishai told Shas weekly newspaper Yom Leyom (Day to Day) in an interview published Thursday.
"Since (Vice President Joe) Biden's visit we can see how the Palestinians have repeatedly toughened their stance and refusd to even engage in proximity talks with us so that they won't have to live up to their commitments," said the Shas chairman. "This only reinforces what I have said all along – that Abbas does not want peace."
Israel's announcement on the approval of the construction of 1,600 housing units in east Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood during Biden's visit to the region sparked a diplomatic row between Israel and the Obama Administration, which is looking to advance negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently failed to smooth over relations with the US during his trip to Washington this week.
"The government of Israel won't compromise in the least on its strategic assets. We cannot just give and give. It is time to get something in return," Minister Yishai continued to say.
"The people voted for this government's path, according to which there will be no compromises on issues related to Jerusalem or on goals we deem important," he said.