Likud MK: Keep on Building at E1
Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) spoke ahead of Thursday's planned march in support of Jewish sovereignty over the 'E1' stretch of land between Jerusalem and Mevaseret Adumim Sunday, stressing the importance of Israel maintaining its presence in the region.
"Building Jewish communities in the stretch of land between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim, at Mevaseret Adumim, will prevent Palestinian settlement of the mountain," she stated. "The Palestinians understand this very well and have been working to establish facts on the ground, by building a network of temporary structures and populating the area with Palestinian families."
Photo evidence surfaced of the illegal building - which has been met with a conspicuous silence by the US and EU - in November.
At first, the Palestinian Authority (PA) kept the buildings under black tarps, to prevent photos being taken and establishing proof of illegal building. Over time, these tarps have disappeared, revealing even more buildings in their wake. All of the buildings are in Area C, the area exclusively under Israeli control.
While the Regavim movement has asked the government several times to intervene, no action has yet been taken. The Civil Administration has reportedly posted signs forbidding the building - but that is all.
Hotovely encouraged Israel to keep building communities of its own on its legally-owned land - despite international pressure.
"Jewish communities cannot continue to be on the defensive," she said. Rather, the state should "strengthen its foothold" in E1. "We must unilaterally declare the area a part of the State of Israel."
The mass march is organized by a plethora of pro-Judea and Samaria organizations and regional councils and seeks to increase pressure on the government to push forward building plans for the area. Several MKs and Ministers - including Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), and MK Miri Regev (Likud) have called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to build up the area in response to the PA's building campaign.
Netanyahu reportedly froze construction in the area in late 2012, following international pressure. He promised to renew construction in the area as part of his election campaign, but has been accused of freezing construction as soon as tenders were announced.