Official Says Lapid Personally Holding Back Yesha Projects
Finance Minister Yair Lapid is personally intervening to prevent approval and advancement of building projects for Jews in Judea and Samaria, the chairman of the Binyamin Regional Council, Avi Ro'eh, charged on Monday.
Among the projects Lapid is preventing from moving forward is one designed to ease traffic at the Adam traffic circle north of Jerusalem, where major traffic jams are a regular feature.
“The road is used by everyone, Arabs and Jews, and the traffic is a major problem for everyone,” so it's not a matter of “helping settlers,” said Ro'eh. “We know there is a tender for road work at the circle, but we were led to understand that it is frozen. We see this as a major blow to the settling of Jews in this region, because the situation as is makes transportation very difficult,” he said.
On a recent visit to Binyamin, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz promised to ensure that the traffic arrangement project would be approved, and that his office would find the funds to pay for it. However, a spokesperson for Katz later said that funding was unlikely, because money for the project was being held up by Lapid.
According to the spokesperson, Lapid has demanded that all projects in Judea and Samaria be approved personally by him.
“We realized when we heard this that it was not a matter of money, but a matter of politics,” Ro'eh said. “This kind of behavior is improper. We are citizens like everyone else and deserve the minimal services offered to everyone, including navigable roads.”
Residents of the area have filed a petition with the High Court demanding action on the road project. Ro'eh was named as a responsible party in the petition, but he says the residents are justified in suing.
“I don't like the situation either. We are talking about a four kilometer stretch that sometimes requires an hour to drive through,” he said.