Barkat: PM Protected Jerusalem

Mayor of Jewish capital says 'we will continue to build in its eastern and western sides.' Netanyahu is back in Israel.

Tags: Nir Barkat
Gil Ronen , | updated: 8:14 PM

Mayor Barkat
Mayor Barkat
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Mayor Nir Barkat of Jerusalem said Thursday that construction in all parts of the city will continue and expressed his support for the Prime Minister for standing up to US President Barack Obama's pressure on the matter. Obama wanted Israel to freeze construction projects for Jews in the eastern part of the city while allowing projects for Arabs to progress without hindrance.

Speaking at the municipal council meeting, Barkat said: “I want to express my support for the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who protected Jerusalem during his visit to Washington.”

"I also want to utilize the podium of the municipal council to make clear to our important ally, the United States, that construction in Jerusalem will continue,” he said. “There is no freeze in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a developing city, it has needs and we will continue to build in its eastern and western sides, for all of its inhabitants, Jews and Arabs,” he added.

1/3 of homesfor Arabs
The city – founded as the Jewish capital by King David, 3,000 years ago – is currently using a zoning plan that has taken shape over the past decade, Barkat explained. The plan calls for about 50,000 housing units to be built throughout the city, in both its eastern and western sides. One third of the units are intended for the Arab sector and two-thirds for the Jewish sector – a reflection of the sectors' relative sizes.

"Some of the plans were approved in the past and some will be brought for approval in the coming years in the local and district committees,” he clarified. The construction is being carried out in order to stop the emigration of young people from the city by making housing affordable for them, and to enable natural growth for the general public, Barkat said.   

Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived in Ben Gurion National Airport Thursday evening and will convene the seven-minister inner forum at 9:00 PM. He will update the ministers about the US's demands and inform them of his reply to the Obama administration.