A view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
A view of Jerusalem from the Mount of OlivesIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Israeli government is standing up to pressure from all quarters, including local mainstream media, and reasserted Tuesday that critics of building plans in response to the Palestinian Authority’s UN ploy don’t understand the map.

Government secretary Tzvi Hauser responded Tuesday to pressure from the international community against Israel’s approval for construction of new housing in the Jerusalem area.

“If someone thinks that Israel will avoid building in neighborhoods in its capital city due to reprimands or pressure, that person does not fully grasp Israel’s interests in the region,” he told Kol Yisrael radio.

The government is committed to Israel’s interests in Jerusalem, he said, even if it means standing up to disapproval.

"There is consensus in the Israeli public and politics that there are areas that we have to keep normal life going,” Hauser said. “We are not talking about a little stone in the desert. We are talking about Jerusalem."

Hauser also linked the decision to allow new construction to the Palestinian Authority’s appeal to the United Nations to grant it nonmember state status, and subsequent PA celebrations over “statehood.” The new housing is way for the Israeli government “to make it clear that unilateral steps by the Palestinians are not the way things are going to get solved," he explained

“Bowing our heads in this kind of situation, and giving silent consent to the violation of accords, would have been likely to have long-lasting repercussions on our ability to defend Israel’s interests,” he argued.

“We're trying every way possible to get the Palestinians back to the table," he added. Israel "will act according to the behavior of the Palestinians," he said. "If they persist with unilateral moves we will react."

Britain, France, Australia, Brazil, Sweden, Denmark and Spain have all summoned the Israeli ambassadors in their countries in recent days in protest of the decision to allow the construction of new homes between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim.

The Palestinian Authority reacted with anger to the revitalization of plans to build near Jerusalem. Reacting to the Israeli announcement of new building in the area, senior Abbas aide Nabil Sha'ath said that "by continuing these war crimes of settlement activities on our lands and stealing our money, Israel is pushing and forcing us to go to the ICC.” the International Court where the PA can now appeal by virtue of its new status in the United Nations.