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Elkin on Meretz rebuke of settler homes: I didn’t stop them from meeting Abbas

New Hope Minister Ze'ev Elkin in the Knesset on June 28, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
New Hope Minister Ze'ev Elkin in the Knesset on June 28, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin of the right-wing New Hope party rejects criticism voiced by the left-wing Meretz coalition party over his decision to okay the construction of 1,300 new West Bank settlement homes.

“About 10% of Israeli citizens live beyond the Green Line. They also deserve apartments and that’s natural,” Elkin tells Channel 13 news.

“I am not imposing on Meretz people whether they go to meet [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] or not; I would behave differently. So they will of course not impose [their opinion] on me and force me to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria,” he says, using the biblical name of the West Bank.

Several Meretz members have been holding meetings with Abbas in Ramallah, drawing the ire of right-wing coalition members.

The tiff comes as Prime Minister Bennett has urged unity within the coalition ahead of the passage of the state budget, asking members to avoid public disagreements and controversial moves.

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