Lieberman Visits Shomron
Lieberman Visits ShomronShomron

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the Israel Our Home party, led his ministerial party colleagues on a visit to Jewish towns in Samaria on Monday. The tour, hosted by the Shomron Regional Council, took place in the shadow of the morning demolition ordered by Defense Minister Ehud Barak of a home in a start-up outpost outside Har Brachah.

Lieberman spoke in favor of an end to the freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria when it expires precisely two months from now, but he did not say that construction must resume freely. 

“We want to make certain that in September, life will return to normal,” Lieberman said. “We don’t want to create provocations, but we certainly think that it is the right of the people living here, sent by various Israeli governments over the years, to lead normal lives, and not find themselves in a situation where 500 students are leaning in a school that was built for only 200. They deserve to have water supply, kindergartens, and all the other aspects of life that the residents of every other town in Israel enjoy.”

After saying that there must be room for natural growth, he was pressed by INN reporter Yoni Kempinski: “You’re talking about only ‘normal’ life, or do you also support the building and development of Jewish towns?”

Lieberman said, “We are talking about normal life. We are not coming to change the demographic status, but of course if people are born or people get married or want to build an extra room, it should be allowed; life should be normal. In settlement blocs, which are not in dispute in the government – places such as Ariel, Givat Ze’ev or Maaleh Adumim – there is no reason that there should not be normal construction.”

“That’s what Meridor says!” some reporters said, implying that Lieberman had not said anything more ‘nationalistic’ than what dovish Likud Minister Dan Meridor had stated. Lieberman responded, “I’m saying that there is no dispute on this point, from Dan Meridor through Avigdor Lieberman; we all agree on this.”

The implication was that he was not willing to go on record in support of new housing projects in towns such as Adam, Beit El, or Ofra (all between 4.5 and 16 kilometers of Jerusalem, to its north).

The ministers visited the towns of Bruchin and Itamar, as well as the industrial zone of Barkan and Mt. Gerizim. Lieberman pointed out the absurdity of the Talia Sasson report of several years ago in which the former State Prosecution lawyer categorized over several dozen Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria as “illegal.”  Lieberman said, “Bruchin, where we are now standing, shows the absurdity of the report. The Defense Minister who signed the official decision to establish Bruchin was none other than Yitzchak Rabin in 1983. In ‘99, when it was finally built, then-Defense Minister Moshe Arens took part. It now has 100 families, and around 15% of them are members of the security forces; there is even an army installation here. There are signs at the entrance to the town saying that the Housing Ministry built the infrastructures..”