Amir Peretz
Amir Peretz Israel news photo: Flash 90

Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz (Hatnua) accused the Bayit Yehudi party Sunday of recklessly endangering the “peace process” with the initiative to approve 1,200 housing tenders in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. The decision was announced by Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel.

"While [Hatnua leader] Minister Tzipi Livni is making extensive efforts to convince the leaders of Europe that we desire peace, and that the matter of borders will only be determined in negotiations between us and the Palestinians, Minister Ariel is busy with an unnecessary provocation and with messages that run counter to the prime minister's decision to renew the negotiations,” Peretz said.

"The members of Bayit Yehudi apparently feel that there is a chance for peace, and leave no stone unturned in an effort to sabotage it,” he added.

"This is irresponsibility. Whoever endangers the political process risks losing control on the regional level,” Peretz charged.

Yesh Atid head, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, voiced similar sentiments earlier in the day, albeit slightly less harshly.

"The publishing of tenders for the marketing of 1,200 housing units in eastern Jerusalem and in the large settlement blocs at this time, is a double mistake,” said Lapid after the announcement by the Construction and Housing Ministry.

"Solutions to the housing problem should be implemented in the areas of demand,” Lapid said. “In addition, the use of resources that are intended for housing for the middle class, in order to make an unnecessary gesture of defiance vis-a-vis the Americans and to throw a spanner in the works of the peace talks, is mistaken and does not help the process.”

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