'Settlement flag flying high.' Shalom
Photo: Yaron Brener

Shalom: Settlement building to resume in 2 weeks

Ahead of direct Israel-PA talks in Egypt, minister slams suggestion to only partially lift construction moratorium in West Bank, says 'we have a right to build there.' MK Elkin: Netanyahu must tell world we were chosen to build, defend Land of Israel

On the eve of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) expressed his opposition to continuing the construction moratorium imposed on the West Bank's Jewish settlements.


"We are 17 years after the Oslo (accords). The flag of settlement is always flying high, and we will continue to wave it," Shalom said Monday during a Likud event in honor of the Jewish New Year.


"I was against the freeze and said it would be irreversible. Now we are facing the exact predicament I had predicted. (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas' demands are unacceptable. We are saying clearly: Ten months have passed."


Shalom also leveled thinly-veiled criticism at cabinet members who suggested that Israel lift the moratorium only partially while direct peace talks are being held. "Public life is rewarding, but it also entails punishment. A Likud party that builds massively is a Likud party that wins big," he said.


As for the suggestion that Israel resume construction only in the major settlement blocs, the minister said, "Are we to draw with our own hands the borders that will serve as a starting point for the negotiations and decide which settlements will be removed from the map? Is this Likud? Is this what we were elected for?"


Addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will head the Israeli negation team in Egypt, Shalom said, "Your success is our success. You must preserve our path. We will begin building (in the West Bank) in 13 days - because we believe it is our right to do so."


Coalition Chairman Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) also called upon Netanyahu not to extend the construction moratorium.


"We have sinned before you, Father in Heaven, for freezing life and building in Judea and Samaria," the Knesset member said. "I turn to Netanyahu and say: We are by your side. You must tell the world we were chosen to grow, build, and defend the Land of Israel."


Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin added, "The international community must pressure the Palestinians to do away with the refugee camps as well as any demand for the Right of Return, which equals a threat to the State of Israel's existence."



פרסום ראשון: 09.13.10, 23:59
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