newsU.S.-Israel Relations

ZOA slams reported building freeze in Judea and Samaria

Netanyahu’s office denied he made the concession.

The construction of a new neighborhood in Alon Shvut, Gush Etzion, May 23, 2023. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90.
The construction of a new neighborhood in Alon Shvut, Gush Etzion, May 23, 2023. Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90.

The Zionist Organization of America on Thursday voiced opposition to concessions Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly made to appease the U.S. administration.

Netanyahu’s office has denied media reports he promised President Joe Biden that he would freeze construction in Judea and Samaria in exchange for their first meeting since the prime minister took office on Dec. 29.

Biden invited the premier for an official meeting during a phone call on Monday, the White House said. The meeting will likely take place this fall either at the White House or on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

ZOA President Morton A. Klein said in a statement that “we pray” that the reports are not true.

“But we are deeply concerned. Because any freeze on Jewish building is unconscionable antisemitic discrimination; violates Jews’ basic human rights; violates binding international law guaranteeing Judea/Samaria to the Jewish people; and is counterproductive. It rewards Arab terrorism and intransigence while sending a message that this is not really Jewish land, which it is.”

The statement added: “No audience with a U.S. president is worth foregoing or freezing the indigenous Jewish people’s birthright to build homes in our lawful, ancestral, G-d-given land. Agreeing to a freeze would be selling the Jewish people’s birthright for a bowl of porridge.”

Klein also said that the ZOA is “deeply dismayed” by reports that Netanyahu is looking to “moderate” his government’s proposed legislation to reform the judicial system by seeking a consensus on the matter.

“Waiting for supposed consensus would give veto power to the anti-democracy radical Left. The Israeli public voted for a government that would finally reform the autocratic, self-appointed judiciary, end judicial tyranny and judicial dictatorship. That should be consensus enough. As we’ve previously explained, judicial reform is in fact good for democracy and is needed for the rule of law. The great judges Robert Bork and Richard Posner wrote of the need to transform the Israeli Supreme Court’s tyranny,” Klein said.

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