Uri Ariel visiting the Temple Mount.
Uri Ariel visiting the Temple Mount. Photo by Michal Fattal
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In an interview with i24news Saturday, Housing Minister Uri Ariel said that "construction in Judea and Samaria continues all the time" and that all the parties involved are aware of it, referring specifically to the U.S., and also Israel and the Palestinians.

He went on to say that Americans choose to broadcast new settlement construction right before another group of Palestinian prisoners is to be released due to their interests, and that it is not the timing he would choose. "I know it's not my most comfortable timing. In fact, it's explicitly against my will. I'm not aware of all the intricate calculations, but I did not choose the timing of these announcements", Ariel said in the interview.

Asked about his commitment to building more and more in the settlements, despite being recently reprimanded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for announcing construction in the controversial E-1 area in the West Bank, Ariel said that he wants to build more, but that he must work within the restrictions laid out for him.

"It's true that even as we speak, there is a way and a need to build thousands of housing units in Judea and Samaria. The fact that it is not done has nothing to do with technical or financial constraints. But any way, we as a ministry can build only in the more urban areas, those closer to the Green Line. The construction in the more remote rural areas is all private and I honestly don't know what is happening there.”

Ariel went on to say that it is worth dying to protect those Israelis living in "Zion", and that he estimates up to 10,000 new housing units will be built in the next few years.