Seeking to provide a counterbalance to the release of 26 terrorist murderers under US pressure, official sources said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Minister of Interior, Gideon Saar, have agreed to immediately approve four housing plans in different parts of Jerusalem.
One of the plans involves the immediate approval for construction of 1,500 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood. In addition, residents of Ramat Shlomo will be allowed to add rooms of up to 50 square meters to existing housing units.
Plans for building a tourist and archeology center at the former “Givati parking lot” opposite the City of David will also be taken to a new bureaucratic stage on the road to implementation. Another plan, for a national garden on the eastern side of the Mount Scopus Hebrew University campus, will be advanced as well.
The plan includes areas for recreation, paths for walking and bike paths.
The construction at Ramat Shlomo caused a crisis in Israel-US relations in 2010, when 1,600 units were approved just as US Vice President Joe Biden was flying to Israel on an official visit.
At the time, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an angry phone call to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, berating him for announcing the building plans.
The US again condemned construction at Ramat Shlomo in 2012, when another bureaucratic hurdle on the way to actual construction was cleared..
Ramat Shlomo, despite being described by some as a “Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem”, is in fact located in northern Jerusalem, between Ramot with 60,000 Jewish residents and the Har Hotzvim Industrial Park.
The area was empty hills before the reunification of the city in 1967. Arabs and anti-Zionist media call all areas reunited with Jerusalem in 1967 "eastern Jerusalem", giving the impression that the eastern, Arab-populated section that was occupied by Jordan until then is going to have an influx of thousands of Jews that will crowd Arab out.