Former minister MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) spoke to Arutz Sheva on Monday, after members of the Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset toured sites of illegal construction areas in Area C.

"Right now the situation is such that it is hard to believe that it exists in the State of Israel: There is a freeze in Jewish settlement, thousands of approved and legal units do not receive final approvals, while on the other hand there is a very massive development of Palestinian illegal construction and this is very strategically worrying for the future of settlement in Judea and Samaria," said Edelstein.

He added that he finds it difficult to understand the purpose of the meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

"The meeting between Gantz and Abbas was unnecessary and I do not understand what its purpose is. When the Defense Minister meets with the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, it is probably a political goal of Benny Gantz and I am not sure that the interests of the State of Israel are being promoted in such a meeting. I did not hear that the issue of illegal construction in Area C or the continued payment of salaries to terrorists came up at the meeting. These issues probably remained under the table."

Edelstein rejected the comments made by an Israeli official who claimed that the residents of Judea and Samaria have no reason to worry and the settlement will flourish even though there are slight disagreements with the US administration.

"I am very experienced in politics and when I am told there is nothing to worry about, I start to worry. When there is a government that says it is suffocating the settlement or when there is an American government that says it will not permit to move even a stone, we know how to fight it. When it is all sweet talk but you see a different picture in the field, I am very worried," he said.

Edelstein, who served as Health Minister in the previous government, was asked for his opinion on the current government's conduct in the face of the fourth wave of COVID-19.

"In my opinion, the government has been late several times and did not listen to the experts of the Ministry of Health. They should have understood two months ago that the coronavirus had not disappeared,” he replied.

"Now all we can do is pray that the Israeli public's response the to vaccines will cause this wave to subside, along with the steps that were taken too late. I call on everyone to cooperate with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health in order to get out of this predicament," Edelstein concluded.