Minister: No Deal with Obama on Construction

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Minister-without-portfolio Yossi Peled said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not made a deal with President Barack Obama to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

Peled, who accompanied Netanyahu on last week's visits to Great Britain and Germany, spoke at a Likud party meeting Tuesday night at Tel Aviv's Azrieli Tower.

"I heard the prime minister say with my own ears that he has no intention of freezing construction in the settlements or in Jerusalem," Peled told Likud activists.

"He said there is no agreement to freeze construction in the settlements" and that "Jews should be able to live wherever they want," Peled said, adding that this information was "first-hand."

Over the past weeks, Netanyahu himself has said that media speculation about a time frame for a construction freeze is unfounded.

"Everyone wants peace, but peace is just a means to guarantee our existence forever," Peled said.

"The Jewish state was given to us as a one-time gift. We don't have the right to lose it because we won't get a second chance," he said.

MK (member of Knesset) Tzipi Hotovely said Likud would stick with its campaign promises.

"The Likud campaign promised no more withdrawals," Hotovely said. "Don't delude  yourself into thinking the world is talking to us about outposts. It is talking about our core, about Jerusalem," she said.

"We need to maintain our platform and not all the Likud to become a second Kadima (party)," Hotovely said, referring to the former government's plan to withdraw to the pre-1967 armistice lines and divide Jerusalem.

"We will do everything possible to preserve the Likud ideology. We will tell the prime minister, 'We stand behind you in the face of international pressure and will help you tell the world that we won't surrender," Hotovely said.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Obama cannot dictate his terms to Israel.

"No one can prevent the people of Israel from exercising their sovereignty in the land of Israel," he said.

"Next year in an undivided Jerusalem," Rivlin said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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