Yishai: Debate Over Building in the Territories Has Dragged on for Too Long


eli-yishaiKnesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Minister of Interior Eli Yishai toured Maaleh Adumim and Area E1 this afternoon, and called for continued building in the territories, despite United States opposition. Area E1 creates a corridor linking Maaleh Adumim to Jerusalem. At the end of the tour, Yishai commented to “Etrog,” “This debate has dragged on for too long.”

Eli Yishai has become more outspoken regarding his political opinions. Together with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Yishai took a tour on this morning of Area E1, which connects Maaleh Adumim to Yerushalayim, and then stated that Israel must continue construction in that area, despite American opposition.

“At some stage we will need to build, at least in the settlement block, even if we are not successful in winning over the Americans,” Yishai said during the tour. “I hope that we will be able to convince them, just as the Palestinians, I am sorry to say, were able to convince them. We will try to explain to them what is the best, and hope to do so in a diplomatic manner. But if we are left with no other choice, Israel will have to build throughout the settlement block based on past agreements we had with the Americans. The agreements made in the past still bear weight, still exist, and they can not be ignored. I hope and believe that the Americans will understand our decision, even if they do not like that decision very much.”

Yishai added, “Forfeiting the agreement does not only imply a forfeit of Area E1, but of the entire settlement block, and chas v’chalilah of parts of Jerusalem – therefore, it is in our national interest, in terms of security, to closely guard Area E1 and the settlement blocks. I hope that the Prime Minister will win the Americans over to our side.”

In an interview with “Etrog”, Minister Yishai said that, “the debate has dragged on for much too long, and it’s time to put the Netanyahu government’s plans into action.” Yishai subtly criticized Netanyahu, when he said that he did not need Netanyahu’s support in order to express his political views. “We are not looking for a conflict with the Americans, but this foot dragging has to end. Netanyahu must decide that when a certain date arrives, he will announce, ‘That’s it – let’s begin construction.’ It seems to me that the time has already come to make that statement,” Yishai said.

Yishai added that he intends on meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the issue, and even demand that a set timeframe be spelled out regarding construction in the larger settlement blocks.

Knesset Speaker Rivlin supported Yishai’s remarks by clarifying, “There is no Jerusalem without Maaleh Adumim – they are one entity. The Prime Minister must understand that what is clear to him is not necessarily clear to the Americans – and he must make take a strong stand in the matter.”

“The struggle over Jerusalem begins with Maaleh Adumim, and expanding Maaleh Adumim on the territory that lies between that city and Jerusalem is a national, security, strategic given. If Maaleh Adumim is cut off from Jerusalem, it will be no better off than Har Hatsofim was between the years 1948 – 1976,” Rivlin concluded.

{Etrog/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. YES YES start bldg, families and newly married need homes. SInce when will the Americans and EU decide where and when Jews can build and live in Eretz yisroel. thank you SHAS for standing up straight.