JERUSALEM, Israel - Strategic Affairs Minister and former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of General Staff Moshe Ya'alon said history has shown that withdrawing from Jewish communities has "only whetted our neighbors' appetite."
"The right of the Jewish people to settle in any part of the historic homeland is indisputable," he said.
"It's time to speak the truth to the residents of Israel and to give them the correct picture of what has happened here in the last two decades," Ya'alon said.
"The one thing that's clear is that the continuing withdrawals have only whetted our neighbors' appetite, giving them the impression that what we have built here is temporal," he said.
Ya'alon was one of the guest speakers at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Samarian community of Eli, north of Ramallah.
"Eli has brought life to the Zionist vision and our generation's mission, the strategic affairs minister said.
Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan and Director-General Pinchas Wallerstein also spoke at the celebration. The Yesha Council is an umbrella organization representing Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
"If there is any settlement Israelis should salute, it's Eli," Wallerstein said. "Every single Zionist revolution in the past 20 years has been implemented by the people of Eli. The entire concept of military prep school also originated in Eli," he said.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon criticized the Israeli government's plan to authorize construction of 455 new housing units in communities in Judea and Samaria.
Ban, who has spoken out against Israeli settlements in the past, expressed his "deep concern" at the government's announcement.
Source: Ynet news