Jerusalem neighborhood which angered Biden in 2010 to be expanded

Israel approves expansion of Jerusalem neighborhood which became flashpoint of US-Israel tensions during Biden's 2010 visit.

Arutz Sheva Staff, AFP ,

Ramat Shlomo
Ramat Shlomo
Flash 90

Israel has approved building of about 100 new homes at the same site where expansion plans unveiled
during a 2010 visit by then-US vice president Joe Biden angered Washington, a left-wing NGO said Thursday.

Anti-settlement group Peace Now told AFP that plans for 96 homes in the primarily haredi neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo in Jerusalem were given the green light by the municipal planning committee on Tuesday.

In March 2010, the Jewish state announced plans to build 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo, which adjoins the largely Arab neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina.

That announcement came as Biden, then Vice President, was visiting Israel, provoking fierce US opposition and souring ties with Washington for months.

"After straining relations with Biden and the US in 2010 over the approval of settlement units in Ramat Shlomo, one would think that Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu would at least try not to remind the incoming Biden administration of that time," Peace Now spokesman Brian Reeves said.

"Approving units in the exact same location, just as Biden is about to enter office, is both counter to Israel's interests and recklessly provocative toward Biden personally."

Israeli public radio put the number of homes approved in Ramat Shlomo at 108.

Right-wing groups in Israel have raised fears a Biden administration will renew criticism of Israeli housing projects in the capital.

The left-wing Israeli daily Haaretz claimed Thursday that the Jerusalem municipality was deliberately pushing construction while Trump is still in office.

"Jerusalem City Hall and the Israel Lands Authority have been identifying and expediting approval of building plans," the paper wrote.

"Once the administration in Washington changes, the municipality and the Lands Authority expect a construction freeze."