New neighborhood of Leshem dedicated
New neighborhood of Leshem dedicated Shomron Regional Council

Likud MKs told Arutz Sheva on Sunday that building Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria is not an obstacle to peace and that Israeli construction must go on in these regions despite the peace process.

The MKs participated in a dedication ceremony for a new neighborhood called Leshem in the community of Aley Zahav.

“I think that it is important to deliver the message that Jewish settlements will not be uprooted,” said Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely. “We’re here to stay and we’re here to extend the Jewish settlements and I think this is one of the most exciting things to see before Rosh Hashanah.”

Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis, when asked if building in Judea and Samaria is a “problematic tactic” while peace talks are ongoing, stated that “building in Judea and Samaria is not a problematic tactic and not a problematic issue.”

“We can negotiate with the Palestinians. We are negotiating with the Palestinians and we can and we will build in Judea and Samaria, in the Golan Heights, in the Negev, in the Galilee - everywhere,” he stressed.

“I hope so,” said Akunis when asked if he believes Israeli construction will prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Hotovely noted that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is in charge of the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, was sent by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and as such should be delivering messages “of a Likud Prime Minister. This is why she can’t say what she used to say in the past, and what we heard during the Ehud Olmert government will not be sounded again.”

Despite having been informed of the building prior to the latest round of talks, and despite the fact that the construction will take place in areas which even the PA has accepted in previous negotiations will be within Israeli borders, Palestinian Authority officials and their supporters have expressed outrage at the plans.

PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi last week threatened that the PA would sue Israel through international bodies if it continues expanding Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

"These are willful and destructive measures to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state," she claimed.

"If Israel carries out these plans... we will be forced to (have) recourse to international judicial processes through international institutions," she added.