Daily Israel Report

Full-Speed Ahead for 700 Jewish Homes in Eastern Jerusalem

The Netanyahu government has ignored President Obama’s demand for a building freeze in eastern Jerusalem and approved tenders for 692 new homes.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/28/2009, 8:32 AM / Last Update: 12/28/2009, 8:28 AM

Flash 90

The Netanyahu government is forging ahead with plans to plan 692 new residential units for Jews in eastern Jerusalem and has advertised tenders for construction, despite opposition from U.S. President Barack Obama. They are in addition to approximately 900 new housing units that Israel approved last month in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, and Israeli officials said that the United States was informed ahead of time of the new building plans

The new homes will be built on Pisgat Zev and Nevei Yaakov, on the northeastern edge of the capital, and at Har Homa, on the southern edge of the city, opposite Gilo and immediately north of Bethlehem. The new construction tenders parallel a building freeze on new homes on Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced the freeze in order to encourage Palestinian Authority PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to resume negotiations on establishing the PA as an independent country, but he has flatly refused the offer.   

Abbas has argued that Israel must honor President Obama’s demand that the freeze be extended to eastern Jerusalem, which the Arab world wants as the seat of a future PA state. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli diplomats and consular heads Sunday that the PA will not accept any Israeli concessions, even if it were to surrender all of eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.