During the last Israeli elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted loudly to potential right-wing voters that his previous term’s building freeze was a thing of the past, that he would now stand strongly with the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria if they would just help his Likud party to win. Voters heeded his appeal by the thousands, enabling a strong Likud victory. Since then, however, there has been a defacto freeze on the granting of new building permits in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem.
This thumb in the eyes of the Jewish residentsof Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem has been a persistent theme of the current Netanyahu government, despite his pre-election promises to the voters.
Finally, the rhetorical cat is out of the bag – Several days ago, Netanyahu proudly announced to the delegates at the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem that his administrations have built less homes in the areas recaptured in the Six Day War than his three predecessors – Ehud Olmert, Ariel Sharon, and Ehud Barak:
“During my first term as prime minister, we built, on average, 3,000 housing units per year in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said. “When Barak was prime minister, he built 5,000 units, Sharon built 1,900 units, and Olmert built 1,700 units. In light of the circumstances, the average number of housing units built during my terms in office dropped to 1,500 per year,” the premier added.
“We can have a discussion about this another time, but facts are facts,” Netanyahu said. “These numbers are precise. So instead of seeing a rise in settlement construction, there has actually been a drop.”
After dropping that bombshell, he says, “We can have this discussion another time”? I disagree. Let’s have this discussion now. Let’s discuss how Netanyahu intentionally misled thousands of idealistic, but gullible voters in order to remain on his throne, but let’s also have this discussion in the days leading up to the next election, when we can surely expect to see Mr. Netanyahu once again visiting pre-military academies in Samaria and happily planting trees in the hilltop communities, which he now derisively calls settlements.
Despite his tough, proud Zionist image, when it comes to building in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem, Netanyahu has been worse than every one of his predecessors. As he says in his own words, “Facts are facts. The numbers are precise.”
Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News