Israeli leader says construction benefits Jews and Arabs alike, “for Jerusalemites of all religions.”
Israel’s construction in Jerusalem will continue, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, stressing that “we are building for Jews and Arabs alike, for Jerusalemites of all religions.”
Netanyahu spoke at a ceremony in the Israeli capital marking the unveiling of a new road named after the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, famous for his hawkish views.
Championing the legacy of the late premier, whose son Yair serves in Netanyahu’s government as the Minister of Agriculture, the leader said that Shamir “emphasized at every turn our obligation to safeguard Jerusalem’s unity. He worked tirelessly to turn it into the vibrant center of our country.”
“How is this possible that a Jew cannot build his home in Jerusalem?” Netanyahu continued. “How could it be that we be barred from building in our capital, the legacy of our forefathers? We shall keep building for all the city’s residents, Jews and Arabs alike.”
He further added he is prepared to fight those wishing to divide the city “with an iron fist.”
Referring to the rioting in East Jerusalem, Netanyahu said that “The violence is taking place mainly in the Eastern part of the city, in fact almost exclusively there; yet it is a part of our city nevertheless. We are not prepared to have rocks hurled in the Israeli capital and we’ll take all the necessary measures to clamp down on this.”
The riots in the Arab-inhabited East Jerusalem, which have frequently spilled over to the city’s Jewish neighborhoods, started following the killing of Palestinian youth Muhammad Abu Khdeir in early July. Abu Khdeir, 17, was killed by Jewish extremists apparently in retribution for the abduction and murder of three Jewish youths by Hamas terrorists three weeks earlier.
According to the Israeli NGO Peace Now, about 25 percent of new Israeli houses being built in Jerusalem in the first half of 2014 were in the city’s eastern neighborhoods.
Netanyahu has also stressed the dangers posed by Iran’s unsanctioned uranium development program, saying it represents a “greater threat to the world, and first and foremost Israel, than the Islamic State” jihadist group.
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