Minister Gilad Erdan
Minister Gilad ErdanIsrael News Photo: Flash 90

Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) and Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan (Likud) announced that their offices will not cooperate with the request of Defense Minister Ehud Barak to transfer their inspectors to be used to enforce the construction freeze of Jewish buildings in Judea and Samaria.

Minister Erdan clarified that the reason he decided not to provide inspectors for the Defense Minister was that his own ministry was suffering from a lack of inspectors.

Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon (Labor) agreed to comply with the request and send inspectors from his office. The number of inspectors who will be put "on loan" thus will be 20, according to Army Radio.

MK Ophir Pines (Labor) expressed outrage at Minister Yishai's decision not to transfer inspectors from his office. He focused his anger specifically on Yishai rather than Erdan, because while Erdan said that he has no direct connection to the issue, Yishai's ministry will effectively remove inspectors who are currently already hunting for illegal Jewish building violations in Judea and Samaria.

Pines called on the Prime Minister to make sure the building freeze is carried out, and called on the Attorney General to make sure the Interior Ministry is "doing its job." Pines lashed out, saying "Yishai's motives are clear and completely political," and accusing the Minister of trying to "crush and thwart" the construction freeze.

"The Ministry of the Interior has exclusive responsibility for implementation of government policy in planning and building inside the Green Line (pre-1967 borders), and is a full and active partner in implementing them in Judea and Samaria, along with the Defense Ministry," said Pines. "Representatives of the office sit permanently in the civil administration and work responsibly, and Yishai has no right to decide which government decisions he will carry out and which he will not."