Thousands of demonstrators took part Thursday in a march to the controversial E1 corridor, linking Jerusalem with Ma’ale Adumim to the east, in order to voice their opposition to the ongoing US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Several leading right-wing politicians addressed the gathering, including Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) and Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home).
A pamphlet handed out to the protesters called on the government to “withstand pressure from foreign entities” — a reference to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace efforts — and to assert Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank by promoting widespread settlement construction.
“As a mighty nation which upholds fundamental principles and rights to build and to settle in their home country, we will not give in to any dictates — both from the United States and from the European Union,” a poster distributed ahead of the march read.
Ariel promised that Israel would continue construction plans in E1, and said that no peace deal would deter him from pursuing such plans.
“There is no authority for the Jewish people to give up any part of the Land of Israel,” Ariel said. “No waiver is binding nor is it valid. Between the Jordan and the sea there will be only one country, the State of Israel,” he said.
Likud MKs Ze’ev Elkin and Danny Danon were also present at the march.
“We are here to tell the whole world that this is our land, and that we have the right to build her,” Elkin said.
“We were not elected to be Tzipi Livni and Zahava Gal-On’s contractors,” Danon added.
In November, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a pullback of Housing Ministry plans to construct some 20,000 settlement units — an unprecedented number — including 1,200 homes in the E1 corridor.
Netanyahu had said the move to push forward tens of thousands of new units over the Green Line was a “meaningless step” that would create pointless tension with the international community.
According to Housing Ministry statistics published in November, 7 percent of new Israeli construction sites erected this year were located in the West Bank, and the number of building projects across the Green Line rose by nearly 130% compared to 2012.