Zeev Elkin
Zeev ElkinFlash 90

Environmental Protection Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) responded in an interview to Arutz Sheva to the murder attack on Har Adar this morning, saying that next week thousands of housing units in Judea and Samaria will be approved for construction, expressing hopes that Jerusalem will also be saved from the construction freeze.

According to Elkin, a member of the political-security cabinet, responsibility for the attack on Har Adar lies with the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas. "This is the result of the atmosphere incitement that exists in the Palestinian Authority."

"As long as the murderer's family receives huge payments, PA leadership cannot absolve itself of responsibility for such attacks," explained Elkin.

Minister Elkin estimates that despite the arrival of American envoy Jason Greenblatt to Israel, there is no expected postponement of granting building permits for thousands of housing units in Judea and Samaria. "Greenblatt arrives in Israel every few weeks, so this is not an exceptional event.He is an emissary of the American president and one of the most friendly in our history."

"This is a very amiable person who incidentally like me is a graduate of the Alon Shvut yeshiva.I know that he does not represent the interests of Israel, but of the United States, but we also must represent Israeli interests and the Israeli agenda, and as far as I know, there is no significant delay in the pace of planning and building permits in Judea and Samaria."

Elkin noted that since Trump entered the White House a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria has not been on the agenda: "To the best of my knowledge, all relevant meetings on construction should take place around Sukkot-time."

"I think it's good that the issue of construction - even if we have disagreements with the administration - stopped being a stumbling block or an immediate disagreement with the Americans and this is a significant change from Obama's time.At least according to everything I know, and according to updates I received, near or after the holiday, there will be another large building process involving thousands of housing units, some of which are already marketed, each according to its own situation."

Minister Elkin told Arutz Sheva that he asked the Prime Minister to include Hevron in the housing program. "It is important to see what is included in this stage and what building permits will be accepted. I discussed this with the Prime Minister, including at the Likud ministers meeting today, and I asked to bring up Jewish construction in Hevron.

"Once a plan has taken shape and sits awaiting government approval, it must not be delayed.Other ministers supported my position, and I very much hope that the Prime Minister will take our position into account and that although there may be sensitivities vis-à-vis the Americans, this plan will be advanced in the near future.Hevron is the second most important place after Jerusalem and there was unanimity when I raised this issue," Elkin testified.

Minister Elkin, who also serves as Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister, says Jerusalem is currently suffering from a severe construction shortage. "Jerusalem is not at all in the set of political sensitivity and construction in Jerusalem must progress, it is necessary and critical, and it must be done in every possible way," he said.

"Unfortunately, there are currently almost no building plans available to market in Jerusalem, everything that was available was already marketed. Because of the slowdown in the pace of planning during Obama's time, we must now speed up the pace of planning in order to have something to market."

Elkin added that there is one building plan that has not yet been marketed - the plan at Givat Hamatos.Elkin notes that the plan, "in great political dispute with the Americans and Europe, in my opinion, must also be marketed.This is very important to Jerusalem both on the practical level and on the urban topography principle level."