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      Jerusalem Official on Housing Push: ‘I Forgot Kerry was Here’

      Jerusalem deputy mayor says he ‘forgot Kerry was here’ when he submitted a ‘routine’ measure on a local housing project.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 6/30/2013, 10:47 AM

      Har Homa, which Obama calls a 'settlement'
      Har Homa, which Obama calls a 'settlement'
      Flash 90

      Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Hadari submitted a “routine” proposal last week regarding details of a plan to market of 900 new housing units in the Har Homa neighborhood of Jerusalem – and immediately made headlines over “building a settlement in East Jerusalem.”

      Hadari joked about the situation in a post to Facebook on Sunday. “I forgot one thing… that American Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting,” he wrote.

      Hadari explained that the proposal he submitted is, contrary to reports, neither dramatic nor new. “Over the weekend I signed a summons to the city Finance Committee and put 130 items related to daily life in Jerusalem on the agenda,” he wrote.

      “Among the items I suggested be authorized during tomorrow’s committee meeting was an agreements between the Housing Ministry and the Jerusalem municipality regarding the marketing of 900 homes in the Homat Shmuel (Har Homa) neighborhood,” he continued.

      The proposal in question was about “settling accounts regarding developing public land at a cost of 50 million shekels,” he wrote, adding, “This was a very routine clause.”

      Despite the unintended publicity, Hadari said he has no regrets. “There is nothing to think about or to debate here,” he wrote. “Jerusalem will remain whole and united, and we will continue to develop at full strength!”

      Publicity around the routine procedure may have caused embarrassment due to Kerry’s current round of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders. “But on the other hand, so what?” Hadari asked. “Jerusalem is at the heart of the Israeli consensus, and the Americans need to understand that.”