Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) declared on Sunday evening that Israel will continue to build new homes in Jerusalem.
Speaking during the laying of a cornerstone for a housing project in the capital’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, on the seam line with the Arab neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, Minister Ariel said that the renewed peace talks with the Palestinian Authority were just that - talks. He added that so far he does not see any breakthrough that will bring about peace.
"Talks are taking place, but the main question is what they are talking about,” he said. “In the mean time, we will carry out our duty, which is to build. I do not see peace but rather an audacious Arab Spring, though I remain hopeful peace will break out."
Ariel also responded to criticism leveled at his ministry earlier in the day by Finance Minister Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, after the Housing Ministry announced that it plans to build over 1,000 homes in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem.
Lapid slammed the announcement, saying that “announcing the tenders for construction of the homes at this time is a double mistake.”
Minister Ariel responded by saying, "Do not be impressed too much by the voices in the coalition against the construction. I’m telling you here and now that all the leaders of the Yesh Atid party, without exception, are in favor of building in Jerusalem. We do not criticize them for that, on the contrary. The first conference of the Yesh Atid party was held in Ariel, no less. Today we announced that we will continue to sell land for the construction of thousands of apartments in Ariel, Maaleh Adumim, Efrat and other places.”
Ariel added, “There is no nation that will ever let anyone dictate to it where to build, when and how. We live in sovereign and free Israel and we will set our own destiny and our own future. It has nothing to do with releasing murderers. We are against this non-Jewish and inhumane act, and therefore we will continue to vote against such moves as we did until now. Regardless of that, we can and must sell thousands of apartments in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.”
MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) also spoke at Sunday’s cornerstone laying and said that the new construction in Jerusalem was approved by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"We will not stop until the government of Israel applies sovereignty from the river to the sea throughout our nation,” declared Slomiansky, who later told Arutz Sheva that the latest peace negotiations were intended "to please the Americans. Negotiations that were formed out of pressure will not bear fruit."
“There is official permission for the construction,” he added. “We’re starting with small construction and will continue from there. This is done with the consent of the prime minister, otherwise public contracts could not have been signed.”