Israel will begin building 840 housing units in the city of Ariel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday in the aftermath of the terrorist attack near the West Bank center the day before.

Speaking Monday during a visit to the Ariel Junction where two people were killed, the prime minister insisted that terrorist attacks would not persuade Israel to withdraw from the region, but would rather lead to increased settlement activity.
“Tomorrow, we will begin building 840 housing units in Ariel in a new neighborhood as was approved two years ago,” said Netanyahu, who was accompanied by Ariel Mayor Eli Shaviro and the commander of IDF Central Command, Nadav Padan.
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Netanyahu vows to build new West Bank housing following terror attack, March 18, 2019 (Reuters)

“These terrorists will not uproot us from here, the total opposite will happen. The more they afflict us, the more we will grow and flourish,” Netanyahu said. “Our power is tremendous.”

Shaviro thanked Netanyahu for his visit and for his statement about construction. 

The project had been given a green light before Sunday’s attack, and the infrastructure work had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

The city plans to hold a cornerstone-laying ceremony on Tuesday with former Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Gallant.

Hagit Ofran of the Left-wing group Peace Now, which monitors such construction and often opposes it, noted on Twitter that the project was not new and could not be seen as a response to the terrorist attack.

The project and the tenders were approved two years ago, and it was scheduled to be built now, “but it is a shame” the building is happening, she said.

The city of some 20,000 residents is the fourth largest settlement in the West Bank and is within commuting distance to the Center.

The project, called “Ariel South,” expands the city and had been delayed until this year.

It is also part of the government’s affordable housing program and the units constructed there will be available to young couples at reasonable prices.