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Knesset Members: 'Sharon Is Caving In To American Pressure; Prime minister Is Refusing To Build Vital Land Link Between Jerusalem & Maale Adumim'

Labor's Ehud Barak: 'Israel Must Launch Crash Program To Complete Security Fence Or Pay In Blood And Territory'

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin: 'Criticism Of Prime Minister Has Nothing To Do With Smear Campaign About PM's Health'

Maale Adumim

A group of bipartisan Knesset members met in Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin's office criticizing Prime Minister Sharon's refusal to start building an a vacant three mile space between Jerusalem and the west Bank town of Maale Adumim. Plans have been approved to build some 4,000 housing units there but Sharon refuses to give the green light. The MKs accused Sharon of capitulating to the U.S., which opposes any Israeli building on the West Bank. Ehud Barak, who is no longer an MK but is running for the Labor party leadership said it was even more important to 'build around the clock' and even on the Sabbath to complete the security fence.

‘Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is giving in to American pressure and refusing to build new housing between Jerusalem and the nearby town of Maale Adumim on the West Bank.‘That was the message from a group of bipartisan Knesset members who met with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. Also taking part was former Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Labor who argued that it is vital that Israel launch a crash program to build the security fence around the big settlement blocs of Maale Adumim, Gush Etzion and the town of Ariel. Barak says this is the best way to ensure they remain under Israeli control. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin declared that although Sharon wants to keep Maale Adumim, he may lose it if Israel does not build in the three mile area known as E-1 between Jerusalem and the West Bank town. Labor MK Beiga Shochatt supported Sharon saying that building on the West bank could jeopardize prospects for the Roadmap process and harm relations with the U.S.

David Essing

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