Ya'alon: We'll Build in Jerusalem

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon clarifies that Israel will continue to build in Jerusalem despite international criticism over the move.

Ido Ben Porat ,

Givat Hamatos
Givat Hamatos
Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared on Thursday that Israel will continue to build in Jerusalem and will not apologize for doing so.

Ya’alon made the comments at a ceremony in memory of Israel’s fallen paratroopers, and they come in the wake of international criticism over Israel’s approval of new housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamatos.

Ya’alon said that over the years, Israeli paratroopers fought on the Golan Heights and in the Sinai, in Judea and Samaria, in Gaza, in Lebanon and the Jordan Valley.

"They liberated Jerusalem, our eternal united capital, Jerusalem that even today there are those who question our right to it. Jerusalem will forever remain the capital of Israel, the Jewish people's capital, the city that we will continue to build and develop without apologizing for it," he declared.

Israel has come under fire after the leftist organization Peace Now revealed a plan to build 2,610 homes in eastern Jerusalem. The housing units have been slated for construction since 2012 and were given final approval last week.

The project has also drawn sharp criticism from the United States, with President Barack Obama on Wednesday telling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of Washington's deep concern over the proposed development.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also criticized the move and used unusually harsh language in doing so.

Psaki said the step would send a “troubling message” and added the construction would “poison the atmosphere not only with the Palestinians but also with the very Arab governments with which Prime Minister Netanyahu said he wanted to build relations.

Netanyahu has made clear that he does not accept the criticism and will not tell Jews that they cannot purchase homes in Jerusalem.