Kiryat Arba ‘Expansion’ a Bluff, Say Officials

Israeli security forces gather near the house where a Palestinian fatally stabbed a 13-year-old girl inside her home in Kiryat Arba settlement, near the West Bank city of Hebron June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
Israeli security forces gather near the house where a Palestinian fatally stabbed a 13-year-old girl in Kiryat Arba, Thursday. (Reuters/Mussa Qawasma)

Officials in Kiryat Arba on Sunday criticized the declaration by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman that they had authorized construction of 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba in response to the murder of Hillel Yaffa Ariel, Hy”d, on Thursday. According to the officials, the announcement was “a bluff and an attempt to fool the public,” as the homes had been authorized for construction before the murder.

“As is usual with these cases, this is a ‘recycling’ of housing tenders,” the officials said. “It’s another ‘spin’ by Netanyahu to make it appear as if he is doing something.”

Liberman said Motzoei Shabbos that the construction was one of the government’s responses to the murder of the 13-year-old girl, as she slept in her home Thursday morning. Visiting the site of the terror incident Friday, in which Michael Mark, Hy”d, was killed, Liberman said that Israel had already taken “more extensive steps against terrorism than have been taken for a long time,” and he was prepared to go further. Thousands of work permits have been rescinded, dozens of Arabs were arrested, and the government planned to withhold funds from the Palestinian Authority equal in value to the amount it pays the families of terrorists killed in the course of their attacks.

Jewish Home whip MK Shuly Muallem-Refaeli slammed the declaration of  the tender for the 42 homes, saying that it was nothing more than “an empty headline. We have heard plenty of announcements on the government allowing more building, but we never see a follow-up and actual construction following. This announcement was just a reauthorization of construction that had been previously authorized, and there is no doubt it will be delayed yet again. The Israeli public is not impressed, and the Palestinians and the European Union are not concerned.”