The Housing Ministry has invited tenders for 700 new homes in Maaleh Adumim and United Jerusalem Tuesday, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appeared in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo to make it clear to Western critics that Israel will continue to build there.
“I came to express clearly our policy that we will build in Jerusalem and will continue to build in Jerusalem. That is the right thing to do,” he said. "United Jerusalem is Israel's eternal capital.”
Last week, the European Union severely chastised Israel for the announcement that bureaucratic steps have been cleared for the construction of 800 news homes in Gilo, called a “settlement” by the Obama administration and the EU. More than 50,000 people live in the neighborhood.
The Housing Ministry’s invitation for tenders was reported by AFP, which said the homes will be built in Judea and Samaria as well as in areas of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority.
Housing Minister Ariel Atias also said construction would not be halted in Jerusalem. "There is natural growth and demand, and construction there cannot be halted," he said in a statement.
The Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood in northern Jerusalem, home to more than 40,000 people but also defined as a “settlement” by AFP, will gain an addition 607 residential units, according to the tender.
Another 92 homes are to be built in the city of Maaleh Adumim, also a “settlement” according to foreign news services. It is located approximately 10 minutes east of Jerusalem and is on the highway leading to the Dead Sea.