Minister: We must build 10,000 new settler homes because the housing crisis in Israel

Israel is ready to “immediately” build 10,000 homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to lower housing costs, extreme-right Housing Minister Uri Ariel was quoted as saying on Thursday. “To immediately alleviate the housing crisis we must massively build in (East) Jerusalem and the settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria,” the Yediot Aharonot newspaper quoted Ariel as telling a parliamentary committee.

Building of new illegal settlement units of 'Elkana' is continuous on the lands of the West Bank village of Masha, near Salfit, July 06, 2013 (Photo: Activestills)

“Settlements like Beit Arye, Ofarim, Elkana are in the center of the land,” he said, “and we are prepared to launch 10,000 units there immediately.” On his Facebook page, pro-settler Ariel noted that “For an entire year there has been no state marketing in Judea and Samaria (the biblical term for the West Bank) and east Jerusalem.” Israel seized east Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never accepted by the international community. It does not see East Jerusalem construction as settlement building. But the Palestinians consider East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. The PLO has said it will not return to direct talks unless Israel completely halts settlement construction and accepts the 1967 lines as the basis for negotiations.