Israeli deputy minister says demand for settlement freeze is anti-Semitic 22Aug13 August 22, 2013

Haaretz    -     20 August 2013

2281454024Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said this week the demand that Israel freeze construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is anti-Semitic.

If such a demand were made of one group within any other country, it would be widely condemned as racist, Elkin said in an interview with Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo during his visit in the country.

He criticized what he said is a preoccupation with preventing Jews from building in Jerusalem.

Since Israel never accepted the 1967 borders and never will, it is unfair to expect the country to cease construction, he said, adding that in any other country it would be considered anti-Semitic to prevent “only” Jews from building.

Elkin protested that the paper’s questions revolved around the peace process and the Palestinians. He repeatedly tried to steer the conversation to other topics.

While calling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict an important issue that he is willing to discuss, he told the Brazilian newspaper there are more central issues to discuss in the interview.

Elkin said that in his estimation Israel and the Palestinian territories are the most stable areas in the Middle East., in comparison with places like Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq.

Settlements are not an obstacle to peace because they take up “only 3 percent” of the West Bank, he said. 

He added that when Israel frees Palestinian prisoners who have killed women and children, it is portrayed as peace-seeking, but when Israel builds a kindergarten in a settlement it is portrayed as working against peace.

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