While celebratory ceremonies are being held throughout the West Bank settlements marking the end of a 10-month building moratorium, dozens of left-wing activists setup protest tents outside the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem against the renewal of construction in the West Bank settlements.
The protest effort was entitled: "Building in the settlements will destroy Israel."
The protesters – representatives of Peace Now, public figures and intellectuals – said that the continuation of building in the settlements will put Israel's security in danger and will derail the peace process.
"We have come here at the last minute in order to try and change the severity of the decree and demand that Netanyahu renew the freeze injunctions in order to give peace a real chance," said Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer to Ynet.
"If the injunctions are not renewed, this means at least 2,000 housing units will be built within the upcoming week, and some 11,000 additional units could be built without government authorization. A majority of them are located in the solitary settlements. This means that in reality control over the territory has been handed over to the settlement leadership."
Fomer Knesset Member Mossi Raz (Meretz) also warned of grave implications. "We look like a mourners' tent here. It seems as though we will have to build many more mourning tents if the construction, which will lead to destruction, is renewed. I think the other shoe has dropped for the prime minister that the settlements damage Israel and that he will find a way within the upcoming days to continue the settlement building freeze," Raz said.
According to him, the last 10 months have been quiet on the security front. He said that this was not by chance.
"If it were the opposite, the earth would be quaking. If the settlements build, blood will be shed, and this will not pass by quietly. The settlements are destroying the State of Israel and causing it defensive damage. Hamas and the settlers are trying to torpedo negotiations, and we will not let them collaborate against the interests of the State of Israel," the former MK said.
'No Jewish state without a Palestinian one'
Among the intellectuals partaking in the protest were Prof. Ze'ev Sternhell and author Eyal Megged.
Megged said that the proper course of action is to go the way of peace. "The obligation is to freeze construction," he said.
Addressing the settler public, Megged said, "I can empathize with your frustration, which stems from the fact that you have stood on the frontlines against terrorism for years. However, I would like to tell you that it is possible that there will be a solution that will allow you to stay there within the framework of negotiations."
Former Foreign Ministry Director-General Dr. Alon Liel said that any decision made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be accepted by the public. "He is a popular and politically strong prime minister," Liel asserted.
Liel dedicated some words to Netanyahu, saying, "Sit at home for two hours. Ignore all the coalition pressures from Obama and the Palestinians, and think how you see Israel in another five or 10 years. I am convinced that you have an understanding that we need to ultimately reach a Palestinian state. Without a Palestinian state, there is no Jewish state, and he knows it."
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