Ariel: We're Not Promoting New Building Plans
Any construction currently taking place in Judea and Samaria is based on plans that were approved long ago and not on any new bids, Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said on Friday.
"We are building all over Judea and Samaria according to plans that were approved two years ago," Ariel said in an interview with Radio Tel Aviv.
He reiterated that the government is not currently promoting any new construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, thus repeating his confirmation from earlier this week that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had ordered him to freeze construction in these areas.
Referring to the disagreement between the parties in the coalition around the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Minister Ariel said that none of the parties wants to pull out of the coalition at this point.
The comments were made as Finance Minister Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, which made a pact with the Bayit Yehudi after the elections, said he disagrees with Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett about the idea of a Palestinian state.
Bennett said this week that the idea of establishing a Palestinian state has reached a dead end and should be forsaken.
During Friday’s interview, Ariel also addressed President Shimon Peres’s lavish 90th birthday celebration, which was attended by some 2,000 people and was broadcast live on Israel’s three main television networks as well as on the radio.
Ariel criticized the celebration, saying, "Peres’s celebration is an embarrassing spectacle and moral corruption. A bad example.”
There was much criticism in Israel this week, by MKs, journalists and the general public, over the celebration.
Uri Orbach, the Minister for Senior Citizens and a member of Ariel’s party, said he thought the extravaganza was done in "bad taste."
Speaking in an interview on the Knesset Channel, Orbach jokingly suggested that the Peres’s 91st birthday next year should be the main theme at the annual torch-lighting ceremony on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day).
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)