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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel Urges Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Sign E1 Plans

Source: The Jerusalem Post
By Tovah Lazaroff

Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel is urging Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to sign the plans for 3,500 housing units in E1, an empty area in his West Bank city.

After waiting for 18 years, Kashriel was given permission to deposit the plans before the Higher Planning Council of Judea and Samaria last month. But the council passed the plans back to the city for revisions, according to Kashriel.

The city has since made the necessary technical corrections, but Netanyahu’s signature is needed in order to deposit the plans again with the council.

On Friday, the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot and its associated Internet site Ynet, published a story explaining that Netanyahu had yet to sign these plans.

As of Saturday night, Kashriel told The Jerusalem Post that he was still waiting for Netanyahu’s signature to deposit the plans.

“There has been no change regarding the November 30 decision to continue to advance the planning of E1,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The decision on E1 was a direct response to the United Nations General Assembly decision to upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation to that of an observer nonmember state.

The Palestinian Authority and the international community have condemned the decision to build in the area, with the PA warning that construction in E1 harms the contiguous development of a Palestinian state and destroys the possibility of a two-state solution on the pre-1967 lines.

Israel has insisted that development of E1 does not harm the two-state solution and that it is understood that Ma’aleh Adumim and E1 would be part of Israel in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians.

Nevertheless, up until November, Israel had bowed to international pressure not to develop E1.

Given the government’s past failure to advance E1 plans, Ma’aleh Adumim residents believe that it is important that Netanyahu sign those plans before the elections, or risk losing the support of Likud voters in that city.

MK Uri Ariel (National Union), who is running on the Bayit Yehudi ticket, said that the absence of Netanyahu’s signature on the E1 plans proves that all his talk of supporting Judea and Samaria settlements is simply a cynical spin and will not last beyond the elections.

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