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Ariel: We'll Keep Negotiating - and Building

Housing Minister calls Palestinian Authority threats to leave negotiations if more building in Judea, Samaria "nonsense."
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 12/3/2013, 10:32 AM

Minister Uri Ariel
Minister Uri Ariel
Israel news photo: flash 90

Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) revealed Tuesday in an interview with Arutz Sheva Radio that he will keep plans to build over 20,000 housing units in Judea and Samaria on the agenda, calling the Palestinian Authority's threats to quit negotiations "nonsense." 

"Whoever thinks we should engage in negotiations with them, can engage in negotiations with them," Ariel stated, "but we will continue to build in Jerusalem - and that's the way it has to be." 

MK Ariel participated Monday in a joint tour of the Neot Kedumim Nature Reserve with economics and real estate moguls, which included a night tour and lighting a hanukkiah.

"The holiday of Hanukkah for me is about the Maccabees liberating the entire Land of Israel, and especially the Temple Mount, and the need for the Jewish people to remember this stage in our history," he said. 

Ariel also referred to the Prawer program, which resettles Bedouin illegal settlers in the Negev to legal portions of land. The program has caused mass protests and injuries after Saturday's "day of rage."

"The Bedouin's arguments are wrong," Ariel declared. "After nearly a decade of dialogue, the time has come to give solutions to all the screaming and the incorrect claims against the state, and it is up to the Police forces to handle the unrest."

He continued, "I turn to the Prime Minister to convene this episode by looking to the lessons of the past - not only regarding evacuation but regarding the resettling of [the Bedouin] in new communities." 

"The intervention of Arab Knesset members damages their own public," he continued, referring to the fact that Arab MKs participated in Saturday's violent protests. "I think it is time that the Arab and Bedouin public take its destiny in hand to find a just solution in cooperation with the state." 

Ariel added that the Housing Ministry is working constantly to lower the housing prices in Israel and in coming weeks will convene a special meeting with the Prime Minister to introduce a number of programs that will lead to lower housing prices in Israel.

The Prime Minister's office, meanwhile, continued to tell Arutz Sheva that programs for more building in the region "have been frozen" for the time being.