Coalition Chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud) voiced support Sunday for Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel's pledge to build more homes in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, even as “peace talks” with the Palestinian Authority (PA) resume.
"The commitment to the Land of Israel and to the settlement enterprise comes before my commitment to the Coalition,” he told Arutz Sheva. “That is what guides me in the present duty. The goal is to strengthen the settlement enterprise. A coalition is intended for advancement of good goals, and not for guaranteeing its own existence.”
Levin is considered to be one of Likud's more stalwart nationalists, alongside Moshe Feiglin, Ze'ev Elkin and others.
Levin said that Israel's basic position regarding negotiation with the PA is that it does not oppose such talks. Any other position, he explained, would have resulted in heavy international pressure on Israel.
He added, however, that he is strongly opposed to the idea that Israel must make “gestures” toward the PA. He said that he has filed a parliamentary query in which he demands to know what commitments Israel has made regarding the release of terrorist prisoners, and that he believes such commitments have indeed been made and need to be fought against.
He said that any talks that end in retreats or the eviction of Jews from their homes are unacceptable.
He noted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyhau himself has said that there will not be another construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.
If Minister Ariel's initiative to issue tenders for construction of Jewish homes in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem is stymied, he said – that would mean that a housing freeze is indeed in place and “as far as I am concerned, this does not justify the continued existence of the government.”
Levin, a staunch Land of Israel hardliner, finds himself in an increasingly uncomfortable position as the government presses ahead with “peace talks” – talks that have led to Israeli concessions in the past and which are being led by left-wing Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who supports the widescale deportation of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of a Palestinian Authority-ruled Arab state in their place.