The Minister of Construction and Housing, Ariel Attias (Shas), admitted Wednesday on the Knesset podium that there are thousands of housing units awaiting sale in Jerusalem, but that none have been been marketed since December.
He was responding to a motion filed by MK Uri Ariel (National Union), who claimed that marketing of plots for construction had been frozen in Jerusalem, for political reasons. Ariel surmised that the Prime Minister was behind the de facto freeze.
Attias essentially confirmed Ariel's suspicions. He said, however, that he hoped that thousands of housing units would be put on sale in the capital in 2010. He even predicted that the number of the units marketed would be larger than it had been in the past two years.
If the Prime Minister indeed instructed Attias to stop marketing homes in Jerusalem in December – this would mean that the freeze began well before the crisis with the Obama administration over construction at Ramat Shlomo. The announcement of the building of 1,600 units there sparked acrimonious rhetoric from the White House, supposedly because it coincided with Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel in March.