Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) on Monday night praised the progress in the process towards final approval of plans for a project that will provide 1,500 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo.
"The Interior Ministry will continue to work towards increasing the supply of housing for all populations in the city of Jerusalem as well as in the whole country," Yishai said. "Approval of the plans is a significant and positive step for the office to improve the housing issue, together with the strengthening of the city of Jerusalem."
Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Yossi Deitch, also welcomed the decision, saying, "The construction freeze in the city, which unfortunately lasted for several years, was brought to an end with the approval of the construction of these new houses, which will provide a partial solution to the housing shortage and the demographic balance of the city."
Deitch called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Knesset members to continue to promote construction in Jerusalem and surrounding areas.
Palestinian Authority officials denounced the decision by the Interior Ministry planning committee to tell developers they must resubmit the plan for “final approval,” reduced by 100 units and with other adjustments. The order came following a meeting Monday at which public objections were heard.
The plan authorized originally by Yishai in August 2011 called for construction of 1,600 housing units. The process, which has already dragged on for years, could take months – or even years – longer, ministry spokesperson Efrat Orbach pointed out to AFP.
But Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh called the committee's decision a “blatant challenge” to the international community and claimed it betrayed a “disregard for the feelings of the Palestinian people and Arab nation.”