On Saturday night, a day before Al Jazeera released documents exposing his agreements with the Palestinians, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared before an ultra-Orthodox audience, boasting that during his term building in the West Bank settlements continued uninterrupted.
"During my time in office, there wasn't any construction freeze - neither in Jerusalem nor in the territories," Olmert said Saturday at a memorial event for former MK Avraham Ravitz, who died two years ago.
In his appearance, which was videotaped by the website Kikar Hashabat, the former prime minister presented himself as someone who made sure construction in the settlements continued.
"I said explicitly that there will be construction in territories that would clearly remain - according to my faith and my view - part of the state of Israel. And somehow I succeeded in explaining that to both the Palestinians and the American president and there was never any dispute about it," Olmert said.
"I remember we approved [the construction of] hundreds of housing units in Betar Ilit," he said, referring to the ultra-Orthodox West Bank settlement. "I was asked why and I said there are almost as many births in Betar Ilit as in Haifa, so how can we say there won't be construction there?... We'll never give up Betar."
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