web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


The Housing Freeze: What Netanyahu Should Tell Kerry

Keeping-Jerusalem

When we talk about developing Jerusalem and ensuring that it remains united under Jewish sovereignty, what could be more critical than actually building Jewish housing? Yet it is an open secret that the Netanyahu government has been waging a long-running general construction freeze in the Jewish areas of Judea and Samaria (Yesha), as well as in the liberated areas of Yerushalayim.

Former housing minister Ariel Attias recently made it quite clear: “A permanent freeze was in place in Yesha,” he said, “except for when they decided to let up; for instance, after the tragic incident in Itamar [when Palestinian terrorists brutally slaughtered Itamar residents Rabbi and Mrs. Fogel and three of their children in their home], and when Beit El’s Givat HaUlpena was destroyed, a few hundred housing units were approved.”

But in Jerusalem, when nothing out of the ordinary occurs, construction in neighborhoods such as Har Homa and Pisgat Ze’ev is simply not approved. For example, the Regional Planning Committee OK’d 1,500 new units in Ramat Shlomo – between Ramot and French Hill – over a half-year ago, subject to certain changes. The changes were submitted to the Interior Ministry six weeks ago. Since then – nothing. Army Radio reported that the relevant authorities in the ministry had received a directive straight from the Prime Minister’s Office not to approve the plan, because of the “diplomatic sensitivity.”

True, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly reprimanded Israel for continuing to build in Yesha, no matter how slowly and insufficiently. But those of us who wish to see Jerusalem as Israel’s united and Jewish capital secured by Jewish population centers on all sides expect that Prime Minister Netanyahu will know how to respond.

We expect that he will tell Secretary Kerry: “What we want is a comprehensive solution – and it will come only via direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. We have been seeking this for years, only to be thwarted by the PA’s illogical and unjust ultimatum: ‘No construction or no peace talks.’ As if it’s only in our interest to have such talks!”

We expect that Netanyahu will continue: “Jewish construction is simply an excuse for the Palestinians. The PLO was established with the purpose of destroying Israel in 1964, well before Israel even controlled Judea and Samaria. Israel froze settlement building for three months after the Camp David treaty, hoping to entice other Arab entities to make peace with Israel – but they were not interested. The PA agreed to sign the Oslo Agreements in 1993 and 1995, even though Yesha was undergoing significant Jewish growth. My predecessors Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert said they would dismantle dozens of Jewish towns and give the PA control of some 95 percent of Yesha – but the PA refused.”

Netanyahu clearly remembers his own efforts to engage the PA in 2010, when he froze construction for ten painful months – and still, the PA refused to talk. “Jewish construction in Yesha was never linked to peace talks before then,” he should say, “so why now?”

He should demand of Mr. Kerry: “What possible justification is there to pressure us not to build in areas that everyone knows will never be transferred to Arab control, such as Jerusalem and settlement blocs?”

Finally, we would expect the prime minister to explain, “It is simply unjust to expect us to stop building in Yesha. Hundreds of thousands of Jews live there, and the harmful effects of a construction freeze extend into many areas of their lives. Are they to be expected to suffer while the PA dillies and dallies over peace talks?”

No doubt, Netanyahu has raised these points, as well as many others. But he seems to have capped them off with, “Despite all this, we won’t build, so that no one will blame us.”

We insist that he should replace that weak-kneed stance with this: “And that’s why we stand tall and proud for our historic and national rights to build homes for the myriads of Jews who have returned to their homeland, the one place where they belong and can feel safe.”

* * * * *

We asked Jerusalem Municipal Councilman Yair Gabbai, a member of the Jerusalem Construction and Planning Committee, the status of construction in the capital. “Several important projects are simply stuck,” he answered, “meaning that they are just not being passed on to the next stage in the approval process.”

About the Author: Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel's minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

9 Responses to “The Housing Freeze: What Netanyahu Should Tell Kerry”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly reprimanded Israel for continuing to build in Yesha, no matter how slowly and insufficiently."

    Nine US Presidents have opposed building settlements in Yesha, starting with Lyndon Johnson in 1968. The US policy isn't going to change and Israel might as well get used to it.

  2. Joseph Friedman says:

    Bush 43 supported Israeli settlements, correct?

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    The idea that Bush 43 supported settlements is a fiction invented by partisan Republican liars in the US. The record proves that is a falsehood.

  4. Joseph Friedman says:

    The first two articles seem to be referring to "unauthorized" settlements that were built in contradiction to Israeli Law and even Israel said they had to be dismantled in accordance with the law. The third article seems to refer to a "roadmap" proposal regarding closing settlements; not a U.S. demand that settlements be dismantled.

  5. Myriam Obadia says:

    Since, up to now, the Arab US allies do as they wish, no matter what the US say, and continue to receive $$$$$, why not do the same? Say "Yes Sir" and proceed as we wish. Will the US "punish us"? Heck no! They know all too well that we're their only foothold in the Middle East anyway.

  6. Charlie Hall says:

    From the Road Map:

    " Israel also freezes all settlement activity"

    That doesn't mean just "unauthorized" settlement activity. That means everything.

    And it often takes years for the Israeli government to remove the "unauthorized" Jewish settlements. Unauthorized Arab settlements, however, can sometimes get removed in days. This hurts Israel's credibility, badly.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org
Keeping-Jerusalem

As Israel slowly loses its grip on parts of its capital, the Arabs are working to fill the vacuum.

Keeping-Jerusalem

The EU wants to replace the US with an increased role for the UN and its built-in anti-Israel stance

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

Rav Goren: “At the request of the Jews, Omar built the Dome of the Rock as a Jewish house of prayer”

When Islam conquered the Holy Land, it made its capital in Ramle of all places, not in Jerusalem.

The story in a nutshell: The terrorists (Arabs) act, and the victim (Israel) ignores and pretends.

Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have been governed by the IDF and not officially under Israeli sovereignty

“We have succeeded in raising an ideological generation that loves death like our enemies love life”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/keeping-jerusalem/the-housing-freeze-what-netanyahu-should-tell-kerry/2013/06/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: