Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel shot back at top Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni Saturday, after she accused him of “torpedoing” her efforts to reach a peace accord with Palestinians, and said that the justice minister had “failed miserably and is now looking for someone to blame but herself.”

“I would suggest to minister Livni to adhere to the advice of the sages – silence is a measure of wisdom,” Ariel said in a statement.

Ariel said cabinet colleague Livni had been given “limitless authority to make peace, including the release of despicable murderers… Her sobs and moans over construction in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria are no more than crocodile tears of one who knew of (the plans) in advance, as did the Palestinians and the Americans.”

In a Channel 2 interview, Livni had said Ariel “deliberately” reissued housing tenders for 708 new homes in east Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood, at a highly sensitive moment in the peace efforts last Tuesday, “in order to torpedo what I am doing along with the prime minister” to try to advance peacemaking.

Ariel, from the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party, “must be reined in,” she said.

While she indicated that she placed overwhelming blame on the PA for the current crisis in the talks, Livni said that “announcements of settlement building will always mean blame is placed on us” for the failure to achieve peace. “The whole world will blame us.”

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report.