Construction in Gilo
Construction in GiloReuters

Left wing groups have condemned recently-announced decision to construct 550 housing units in Jerusalem Wednesday.

The newly-issued building permits include 386 units in Har Homa, 136 units in Neve Yaakov and 36 units in Pisgat Zeev, according to AFP.

Issuing permits is one of the last stages before construction begins, which means building is likely to start in the coming weeks, according to the far-left Peace Now NGO.

A spokesman for the group expressed his anger at the decision.

"We are talking about building permits, which is really the final stage," spokesman Lior Amihai told AFP. "It's a shameful decision, at a shameful time. A government that wants a two-state solution would not issue those amount of permits for east Jerusalem neighborhoods."

MK Zehava Galon of the left-wing Meretz party, also attacked the plans, accusing the Jerusalem municipality of "igniting the region". 

Senior Palestinian Authority official Hanan Ashrawi joined Peace Now and Galon in condemning the decision.

"Israel is engaging in the deliberate provocation of the Palestinians to drive them to leave the negotiations in protest of Israeli violations, and therefore should be blamed for the destruction of the peace process," she said in a statement.    

According to figures from Peace Now, in the six months since the talks began on July 29, the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu advanced plans for 7,302 new homes, including 4,880 in the West Bank and 2,422 in east Jerusalem.  

In the same period, tenders were issued for 4,460 new homes - 2,372 in Judea and Samaria and 2,088 in Jerusalem.

Despite the apparent outrage over construction in Judea and Samaria, it is worth noting that a construction freeze was not a precondition to the current US-brokered talks.