Daily Israel Report

Knesset Members Back Netanyahu on Jerusalem

Coalition head Ze'ev Elkin gathers signatures to show that across the political spectrum, Jerusalem is not up for discussion.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/14/2010, 8:29 PM / Last Update: 3/14/2010, 10:11 PM

Flash 90

Coalition chairman MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) of the Land of Israel lobby is responding to American pressure by showing the world that Jerusalem is not up for discussion. In an interview with Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service, Elkin said he was gathering signatures in order to show that support for Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel crosses political lines.

America is pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over construction in the capital city because its leaders mistakenly think that there is no Israeli consensus when it comes to Jerusalem, Elkin said. “We have to act within the Knesset to show them that the reality is different,” he said.

Elkin is planning to gather signatures from members of opposition parties as well as members of the coalition.

While Netanyahu has apologized to the United States for the timing of new construction in Ramat Shlomo in Jerusalem, he does not intend to halt the building project, Elkin noted. “The essential thing is that the prime minister is clearly saying – we are not changing our decision regarding Jerusalem,” he said.

The current criticism Israel faces over housing plans in Jerusalem is a result of the policy taken by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Elkin said. Olmert gave the Palestinian Authority the idea that with pressure, Israel would be willing to split Jerusalem, he explained. In time, the PA will come to understand that the new government is different, he said.