'The situation is worse than during the Obama era'

Jewish Home MK slams PM for asking US for permission for every home built in Judea and Samaria.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel Smotrich

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) addressed the severe housing shortage in Judea and Samaria and pointed and criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in an interview with the Knesset Channel Sunday.

"Settlements are becoming homes for the elderly," Smotrich said, describing the crisis faced by schools in Judea and Samaria, which have had to close classrooms in response to declining enrollment.

According to Smotrich, the problem lies in the lack of construction. "Whoever doesn't build says 'I don't intend to remain here. If it is mine and I plan to stay here forever, why not build? If I'm going to give it over to someone else, then it makes sense not to build."

He said that the manner in which construction is approved in Judea and Samaria is "insulting to our intelligence," and explained how projects approved in the past are counted multiple times to artificially inflate the number of approved housing units.

The majority of Smotrich's criticism is based on the government's need to obtain American approval for construction in Judea and Samaria. "I can tell you with confidence that the Israeli team sits down with the Americans on every house, and reaches a crazy decision. We have reached a situation which is even worse than the Obama era, and the prime minister is responsible for this. We have a sympathetic administration in the US. We see eye to eye with it on the Iranian issue and on other issues. It can and should be in favor of the settlements as well. It is a question of what we present to it."

"We are losing our independence and sovereignty, as well as our ability to act in accordance with our interests. And [instead] we are waiting for American approval for every single home. This is a more significant problem than whether we are building more or fewer [homes]," Smotrish said,

Smotrich said that the current situation is unacceptable to his party's leadership and that discussions are being held in order to exert pressure on the government. "We demanded that the government sever all ties with the Palestinian Authority today. Our ties with the PA are now ties with Hamas."

"We will coordinate with Hamas, we will transfer budgets to a government in which Hamas sits, and then we will complain to the world and demand that the world not recognize Hamas," Smotrich said.