The area on which the neighborhood is to be built in Atarot
The area on which the neighborhood is to be built in Atarot Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority's “foreign ministry” on Tuesday welcomed the US pressure to prevent Israeli construction in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Atarot.

In a statement, the PA bureau called the US policy on this issue "an important practical step in the right direction" that could bring "a return to the political horizon for resolving the conflict and preparing the ground for the launch of a real peace process."

The statement added, "These positions should be accompanied by further steps, including the reopening of the American Consulate in East Jerusalem."

The PA “foreign ministry” expressed concern that Israel will work to persuade the US administration to agree to the Atarot construction project, noting that work is still underway to prepare the infrastructure required for the project.

A recent report by Barak Ravid on the Walla! news website said that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has sent messages to the Biden Administration that the government would not promote the construction of Atarot.

The plan to construct the neighborhood was approved by the local committee in Jerusalem a few days ago.

A senior diplomat said the Prime Minister made it clear to the United States that the government has no authority or control over the local committee, but once it reaches the district committee where the government can intervene, it will not be advanced.

An Israeli official later said that Bennett did not stop the construction of Atarot, but rather explained to the Americans that this is a technical procedure that will last at least a year.

On Monday, the Jerusalem District Committee refrained from approving the plan for the construction of Atarot.

The committee's decision stated that the Environmental Protection Ministry should first carry out a survey of the plan's environmental impact.

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