With int’l criticism of Israel’s planned construction in E. Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria peaking, the PM says in a television interview it is Israel’s right to build in Jerusalem.
Amid increasing international criticism of Israel’s recent approval of construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a television interview on Friday that he doesn’t “care what the UN says.”
In the wake of the UN vote on Palestinian non-member state status, Israel announced plans to advance a long-frozen project for the E-1 corridor, which links the city of Jerusalem with the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim. The Netanyahu government also announced plans to build 3,000 new residential units beyond the green line.
Criticism of these moves reached its peak this week, when on Wednesday fourteen members of the UN Security Council condemned Israel for its intention to move ahead with construction in E-1, as well as building new settler homes. On Tuesday the U.S. State Department accused Israel of engaging in a “pattern of provocative action” that runs counter to statements from Israeli leaders that they are committed to peace.
In Friday’s Channel 2 interview, Netanyahu said construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is a matter of principle. “We live in a Jewish state, and Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The Western Wall is not occupied territory. We will build in Jerusalem because this is our right. I don’t care what the UN says.”
The prime minister said that these recent announcements were not a political strategy ahead of the January elections, and and that they were not made on the advice of the Likud party’s political strategist, Arthur Finkelstein. This is Israeli government policy, the prime minister said, adding that such assertions are “urban legends.”
Netanyahu also responded to comments by leader of right-wing party, Habayit Hayehudi, Naftali Bennett, on Thursday, that he would refuse IDF orders if he were told to evacuate a settlement.
Bennett told Channel 2 on Thursday: “If I receive an order to evict a Jew from his house and expel him, personally, my conscience wouldn’t allow it. I’d ask my commander to exempt me. But I wouldn’t publicly call for disobeying orders.”
Netanyahu told his interviewers, “Whoever insists on refusing IDF orders, will not be a minister in my government.”
View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-i-don-t-care-what-the-un-says-about-settlement-construction-1.489204