The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has cited a speech by Israeli Environmental Protection Minister, Ze’ev Elkin, noting his point that, while the Trump Administration represents a dramatic improvement over the Obama policy of relentless criticism and hostility to Jews living in Judea/Samaria, “The only thing that has not changed is the negative way it looks at Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria. On this issue, the administration continues the tradition of the Obama administration.”
In support of his claim, Mr. Elkin hinted that the Trump administration was pressuring Israel to halt its plans to build in Hebron, saying, “Even this current administration, as friendly to us as they are, need to be told that some things are a national interest, such as building in Hevron.”
Indeed, both Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri have been urging Prime Minister Netanyahu to approve Jewish construction in the Hizkiyahu (Hezekiah) neighborhood of Hebron.
Additionally, Israel delayed the Civil Administration’s planning committee meeting that was to take place this week and approve thousands of housing units in Judea/Samaria ,within the boundaries of existing communities, due to a request from President Trump’s special envoy, Jason Greenblatt (‘Trump administration continuing Obama tradition,’ Israel National News, October 2, 2017).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is of concern that President Trump, who is a great friend of Israel and who has rightly stated that Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria are not obstacles to peace, continues the Obama policy of asking Israel to enforce a publicly unacknowledged but very real ban on further Jewish construction in Jewish neighborhoods, including those that would remain with Israel’s jurisdiction under any conceivable peace settlement. It is even more troubling that this request for Israel to stop building occurs while Arab building at a furious pace is ignored.
“President Trump should reconsider this request of Israel. Such a move conveys the message to the pro-terror, anti-peace, anti-American Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinians need do nothing but sit back and accept Israel’s forbearance and unwarranted concessions. And, any Israeli concession cannot be considered while the PA Abbas dictatorship pays Arabs to murder Jews and Americans, name schools, streets and sports teams after Jew killers, and maintain maps showing all of Israel as “Palestine”.
“President Trump is already a great friend of Israel, and can be an even greater friend of Israel by making it clear that the PA’s refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state and its dedication to Israel’s eventual elimination is the real obstacle to peace, not Jews living and building homes in Jewish areas of Judea/Samaria, the religious, biblical historic heartland of the Jewish people.
“We respectfully request that President Trump rectify this policy and have his officials desist from asking that Jewish communities be stultified and prevented from allowing for natural growth and meeting the real housing needs of these thriving communities.”