The Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee is scheduled to discuss on Sunday a new plan to build 1,400 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood. The units will be built on 70 dunams of land.
Municipal sources say this is one of the largest projects the Committee has authorized in the past several years, and that it comes as result of the US elections.
Last week, the Committee's chair announced his intention of bringing building plants "out of the freezer" but the current plan is actually an expansion of a previous plan to build in Ramat Shlomo, which officials say"was not discussed prior to today, because of the Obama administrations opposition" to it.
Committee sources say, "Jerusalem is acting as if Trump was already president, but the issue is no one knows what his policies will be. There's a feeling that whatever isn't accomplished in the next two months won't necessarily succeed later on. Even if America condemns us, it's not worth too much right now. We need to tell Trump very clearly that Jerusalem intends to build."
Jerusalem Vice Mayor Meir Turgeman told Channel 2 last week, "There was pressure not to go through with the plan, because it was 'over the green line.' They didn't allow us to build there."
In addition to the units planned for Ramat Shlomo, 2,600 units are planned for Givat Hamatos as well as 3,000 for Gilo.
Turgeman said, "There are a lot more plans, and I intend to use the US transition period to get them approved. Until now we were prevented from building by the Obama administration's pressures on Israel. It's over. From now on we're going to pull those plans out of the freezer."
Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) said on Sunday that, "Building right now is crazy, someone in Jerusalem has obviously gone out of his mind, and I'm not even sure who it is anymore. Approving new housing units in Jerusalem means playing into the Palestinians' hands. It's an invitation for international pressure. It's like sticking a finger into the US president's eye over and over again."
For several years there has been a de-facto building freeze in Jerusalem, even though eastern Jerusalem was officially annexed to Israel in 1967 and is not considered to be part of Judea and Samaria. After the US elections, right-wing MKs began pushing to use the transition period and president-elect Donald Trump's apparent pro-Israel stance to do things outgoing President Barack Obama had previously forbidden.