Leftist Jerusalem Councilman Reports Construction
Israel advanced plans Wednesday to build another 186 housing units for Jews in the eastern part of Jerusalem, the Jewish state's capital, according to a leftist Jerusalem councilman.
The councilman, Yosef Pepe Alalu, represents the far-left Meretz party. Alalu told AFP that 40 new units are planned for the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood, with another 146 in Har Homa, both of which are over the 1949 Armistice line.
According to Alalu, the units received "final approval" on Wednesday. The extreme leftist group Peace Now responded to the news quickly, with spokesperson Lior Amihai calling it a "sad decision."
Last August, Alalu similarly announced 942 new units were planned in the southern neighborhood of Gilo.
Israeli construction plans in the capital city have been met with condemnation from the US, partly because US Secretary of State John Kerry's proposals in the framework of peace talks include dividing the city and creating an Arab capital in Jerusalem.
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas threatened two weeks ago that unless a building freeze was imposed on Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the peace talks would come to an end. Such a freeze was not stipulated as a pre-condition to resumed talks.
Last Sunday Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu voiced his rejection of a building freeze, noting "we imposed one in the past and it brought no results."
The talk of building comes as Israel is suffering from a housing crisis; in February the Bank of Israel revealed that housing prices rose a whopping 8% in 2013.