'Even Peres knew Maaleh Adumim is a consensus'

MK Bezalel Smotrich rejects criticism over inclusion of former President in campaign for the annexation of Maaleh Adumim.

Shimon Cohen ,

Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) on Sunday rejected criticism directed at him and MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) over their inclusion of former Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres in a campaign calling for the annexation of Maaleh Adumim, to the east of Jerusalem.

Most of the criticism had come from MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), who took exception with the fact that the campaign included quotes from Peres and former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon about the importance of construction in Maaleh Adumim.

“Using the figure and work of Peres, shortly after his death, for the promotion of the whole Land of Israel is a disgrace. A cynical exploitation of the Israeli consensus for the sake of the destruction of the Zionist vision,” Rozin had charged, adding, “It is time to remove the mask from the faces of MKs Smotrich and Kisch: Any unilateral decision by the Israeli government regarding the occupied territories will advance us towards a binational state, and will distance us further from a peace agreement. If the welfare of the residents of Maaleh Adumim is so important to them, let them start negotiations for the promotion of those peace initiatives to which the Prime Minister says he is committed.”

Speaking to Arutz Sheva on Sunday, Smotrich dismissed Rozin’s remarks, pointing out that a poll conducted by Mina Tzemach had found that more than 80% of Israel’s citizens support the annexation of Maaleh Adumim.

“That’s the consensus,” he said, and proceeded to point out that the radical left does not own rights to Peres’s legacy.

While Peres, in his last years, believed in concessions and withdrawals, acknowledged Smotrich, in his earlier years he led "actions that were important for Israel's security and the development of the settlement enterprise. He has many rights on that. He spoke of strengthening Jerusalem with a belt of settlement."

Specifically with regards to Maaleh Adumim, Smotrich said, “It is a city in Israel just as Karmiel, Rishon Lezion or any other city. People who live there serve in the army and pay taxes and are entitled to the same civil rights as every other citizen of Israel. They do not deserve to be turned into hostages of the Arab refusal. Michal Rozin is at the extreme end of the Israeli scale and represents a thousandth percent of Israel's citizens.”