Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer
Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer Hezki Ezra

Radical leftist NGO Peace Now was in a dither on Monday after Israeli authorities invited tenders for the construction of 77 new homes in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Neve Ya'akov and Pisgat Ze'ev in the north of the capital city.

Peace Now spokeswoman Hagit Ofran told AFP it was the first such Jewish construction announcement in the eastern part of the city since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party took elections in March.

According to the leftist group, 36 of the tenders are to be in Neve Ya'akov and another 41 are slated for Pisgat Ze'ev. Jerusalem has been suffering a housing crisis as construction in the eastern part of the city has been under a near absolute Jewish construction freeze by Netanyahu's government since late 2013.

In warning that the new tenders may reflect in some way the coalition government being formed by Netanyahu, the secular leftist Peace Now made an ironic invocation of G-d.

"Publication of these tenders in east Jerusalem is liable to be an indicator from Netanyahu's transitional government of what can perhaps be expected - G-d forbid - when the new government is formed," it said.

"Instead of changing direction and showing that Israel is ready for peace, Netanyahu is sticking to the line he held during his election campaign and seeking to prevent the chance of peace," it claimed, asserting that construction in the capital city which Israel has not offered to divide in peace talks would somehow squash "peace."

The day before the elections, Netanyahu vowed in the southeastern neighborhood of Har Homa that if reelected he would build thousands of new homes in the stagnant region, saying "we will continue to build in Jerusalem, we will add thousands of housing units, and in the face of all the (international) pressure, we will persist and continue to develop our eternal capital."

But just days after the election, housing plans for 1,500 units in Har Homa were frozen with no reason provided, as leftist NGOs indicated the freeze was meant to leave open the possibility of an Arab capital in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Councilman Arieh King has long charged the prime minister of creating a de facto division of the capital on the ground, forbidding Jewish entry to eight neighborhoods and blocking Jewish construction, all while allowing rampant illegal Arab construction to continue unchecked.