Report: Israel Won't Build New Homes, After All
Israel is rolling back its decision from last week to build 1,800 new homes in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem, after European countries applied pressure to the government, according to reports Thursday. The report in Ha'aretz said that five European countries – Britain, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy – have been applying various forms of pressure in recent days, and as a result Israel has decided to postpone moving forward with the projects.
The Housing Ministry and the Israel Lands Administration on Wednesday night issued tenders for 1,500 new homes in Judea and Samaria, and in Jerusalem. The tenders were issued as part of Israel's response to the establishment of the Hamas-Fatah Palestinian Authority government. Another 300 homes were subsequently announced as well. The announcement comes amid Israeli anger the Obama administration's decision to work with the Palestinian Authority's "unity government" consisting of the PLO and Hamas.
But the report Thursday said that in recent days, and after joint consultations, the European countries told Israeli officials that there would be a “response” if construction proceeded. Ambassadors from each of the countries plan to file official protests with the Israeli government, as well.
The postponement was announced Wednesday in a meeting of the Civil Administration's Planning Committee, the body that would approve most such construction, Ha'aretz said. The government has not commented on the report.