Minister of Construction and Housing, Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi/Jewish Home), said Monday that Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's protests regarding Israel's announcments of new construction for Jews in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem is one big show.
Abbas “knew in advance about the construction in Judea and Samaria,” Ariel told a delegation of French parliamentarians from the UMP party. “The Americans coordinated it with him, and so his protest is really a coordinated protest, too.”
The legislators, among whom was a former French housing minister, asked why Israel was building homes in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem. Ariel explained that there is a housing shortage in Israel, and that his main mission, since the government was established, has been to build as many homes as possible for all sectors, including Arabs and Druze.
Relatively speaking, he added, there is more construction being carried out in other parts of Israel than there is in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
Ariel noted the European Union's tendency to intervene in Israel's affairs, while doing almost nothing regarding the ongoing slaughter in Syria. This reflects “a twisted version of human morality,” he said. “It is unacceptable that the European Union and its foreign minister [Catherine] Ashton prefer to deal with Israeli matters than with Syria.”
Ariel's remarks about Abbas are consistent with comments made by US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year, when the PA protested against Israeli construction announcements. Those announcements came on August 13, the same day that Israel released the first batch of terrorist murderers that it agreed to free as a “gesture” to the PA.
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was completely up front with me and with president Abbas that he would be announcing some additional building in places that will not affect the peace map, that will not have any impact on the capacity to have a peace agreement," Kerry said.
The latest construction announcements were made on the day that the second batch of murderers was released.
The release of murderers was met by disgust and frustration by large parts of the Israeli populace, as well as considerable political intrigue. While Minister Ariel and other Bayit Yehudi ministers protested the release, Likud Minister Gideon Saar reminded them that they were a part of the government that made the decision to free them.