'Do You Serve the Public or the Yesha Council?'

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni lashes out at nationalist MKs over attempt to prevent another building freeze.

Tova Dvorin ,

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (HaTnua) fired sharp criticism at nationalist MKs last week for issuing a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) saying that giving away Judea and Samaria would be a "red line." 

"I read this morning the messages and ads by MKs and Deputy Ministers against the peace process and for continued funding and construction of isolated settlements," Livni noted on her Facebook page on Thursday. "The ad campaign is funded by the Yesha Council. But the security, moral, political, and economic price is all of Israel's." 

"[They need to] decide whether or not they are working for the public or for the Yesha Council," Livni added. 

On Wednesday, 21 MKs from the Caucus of the Land of Israel sent the concise letter to Netanyahu, asking him not to accept the US's sudden demands for a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria. 

"In the course of the past few days, news has reached us about a demand that Israel agree to freezing construction and planning of communities in Judea and Samaria,” the letter said.

The Caucus members – headed by Coalition Chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud-Beytenu) and MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home) stressed that they “strenuously oppose a freeze of any kind, including a freeze 'outside the [large settlement] blocs,' and we will see an Israeli commitment along these lines as a serious game changer.”

Minister of Construction and Housing Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) called the notion of a building freeze “a redundant, deluded idea.” The minister pointed out that the last building freeze – which Netanyahu declared in 2009 – not only did not advance peace with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in any way but may have worsened the situation.

Livni's criticism joins the voices of other leftist and Opposition leaders who slammed the letter, claiming it is hindering the peace process.