Israeli Housing Minister, Uri Ariel, of the Jewish Home Party, stated that his party will oppose an government budget that does not includes budgets for the construction and expansion of Jewish settlements in areas Israel vowed to build in after the Palestinians headed to the United Nations last year.Israeli Yedioth Aharonoth reported that Ariel held a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss the issue, and stated following the meeting that any budget that does not allow settlement construction would be considered a violation of the coalition agreement between the Jewish Home and the Likud Party of Netanyahu.
On his part, Israeli Finance Minister, Yair Lapid, refused to comment on the statements of Ariel.
Israeli sources reported that Ariel seems to be sending a message for Jewish settlers in the occupied territories, telling them that his party will fight for more budgets for settlements, and that he is also sending a political message to Netanyahu to stress on the importance of settlements amidst U.S. efforts to resume direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
In November of last year, the Palestinians won a UN General Assembly vote for nonmember observer state statues when 138 member states voted in favor of Palestine, while only 9 countries voted against the bid and 41 countries abstained.
Israel responded to the move by approving more settlement construction and expansion in the occupied territories, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem, and also withheld Palestinian tax money it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority on West Bank border terminals.
The U.S also withheld financial support to the P.A and urged it to refrain from what it called “unilateral moves” that are “counterproductive to the efforts to resume direct peace talks”.
The Palestinian Authority is demanding Israel to stop all of its violations, including invasions, assassinations, arrests and settlement construction activities in order to enable the resumption of peace talks, but Israel considers the Palestinian demands as “preconditions”.