Israeli right-wing responds to Washington’s criticism regarding construction in West Bank

After US President Barack Obama’s administration harshly condemned the Israeli government’s decision to approve the construction of almost a hundred new housing units in the West Bank, members of the Israeli right-wing attacked Washington. “Israel needs to do what is beneficial for itself as a country,” said Israel’s Justice Minister.
An Israeli settlement Photo Credit: Noam Moskowitz/Flash 90/Channel 2 News

After Washington condemned the Israeli government’s decision to approve the construction of 98 new housing units near the settlement of Shvut Rachel in the West Bank, members of the Israeli right-wing launched a counter-attack. “The US government’s announcement is a black stain on the White House,” said co-heads of the Knesset’s Eretz Israel Lobby MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) and MK Bezalel Smotrich (Ha-Bayit Ha-Yehudi). Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Ha-Bayit Ha-Yehudi) also responded: “Israel needs to do what is beneficial for itself as a country.”

In an interview with Ilana Dayan on Army Radio, Shaked said: “The American’s announcement is a bit disproportionate to say the least. I think that the Middle East is going up in flames. Along the Israeli-Syrian border, dozens of people are being slaughtered on a daily basis on the Syrian side and the West hasn’t been able to find a solution. It would be fitting for the US to figure out how to save the civilians in Syria instead of issuing such a harsh statement regarding a few dozen housing units in the West Bank.”

Shaked emphasized the close ties between Washington and Jerusalem but said that Israel has its own issues to consider: “The US is a big friend but in the end, Israel needs to do what is beneficial for itself as a country.”

Kisch and Smotrich clarified that they intend to continue to advance the Israeli government’s plans to strengthen the settlements. “The US government’s announcement is a black stain on the White House,” they said. “The one who pretends to stand at the head of the free world is supposed to refrain from attempting to crush Israel’s independence.”  

JOL reported yesterday that US State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said that the Israeli government’s decision “will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from many of its partners and further call into question Israel’s commitment to achieving a negotiated peace.”


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