Maale Adumim Mayor Benny Kasriel on Monday handed a petition over to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, demanding that his government give the green light to construction in the E1 corridor between Jerusalem and his city.
The petition was signed by dozens of MKs and ministers, including most members of the Likud in the Knesset, as well as hundreds of activists and members of the Likud central committee.
The petition calls on the government “to build the Mevaseret Adumim neighborhood,” as the E1 section is called. “The time is right, as there is a great national awareness of the issue right now.”
At a Likud faction meeting Monday, Kasriel told MKs that “it is unthinkable that young couples in Maaleh Adumim, who have given everything for the sake of the country, will not have a place to live or land on which to build a home. We send over 850 good soldiers to combat units and leadership positions each year, one of the highest percentages of any community's 18 year old population in the country.”
Things have gotten much worse lately, he added. “This year they are building 85 apartments in the town, while last year it was 1,000. Maaleh Adumim will remain a part of Israel under any agreement, all agree. There is no reason not to build there.”
Israeli plans to build in the E1 area, between Maaleh Adumim and Jerusalem, has been the subject of sharp criticism by the Palestinian Authority and Western countries. According to the PA, an Israeli neighborhood in the area would cut off Bethlehem from Ramallah, destroying the possibility of a unified PA state with territorial continuity.
It should be noted that the lack of continuity between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim, one of the settlement blocs that all recent Israeli governments have said would be retained regardless of the outcome of negotiations, has not been addressed by the PA, the US, or the Quartet.