Israel has revived a plan to construct1,600 new homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo thatraised U.S. objections when it was first announced in 2010, an official told AFP on Monday.
“In the next two weeks the interior ministry’s district committee for Jerusalem will convene to discuss the objections to the program that was approved for deposit over two years ago,” said interior ministry spokeswoman Efrat Orbach.
“The committee will then have to decide which of the objections — if any — it accepts, and make changes accordingly,” she added, in reference to concerns raised by the public.
The Ramat Shlomo project caused a diplomatic rift between Israel and Washington when it was first announced in March 2010 but it has lain dormant since August 2011, when Interior Minister Eli Yishai gave final authorization for it.
Right on cue, the anti-Israel Obama administration is condemning Israelis building new homes on their own land:
The United States called on Israel Monday to “reconsider” a decision to allow 3,000 more Jewish homes in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
“We urge Israeli leaders to reconsider these unilateral decisions andexercise restraint as these actions are counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
“We reiterate our long-standing opposition to Israeli settlement activity and East Jerusalem construction,” he added.
I love how the media calls these neighborhoods “settlements,” as if they were temporary tent cities or something. Question for Obama: when was the last time you asked Mexico’s permission for the construction of housing developments in the southwest? On second thought, don’t answer that…I don’t want you to get any more ideas.
Netanyahu isn’t backing down to Obama’s unreasonable demands, though. Good for him!
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pushed back on Monday against intense international pressure to reconsider plans forbuilding 3,000 housing units in east Jerusalem and the West Bank and stepping up the planning of the controversial E1 site, saying no one should expect Israel to sit on its hands in light of Palestinian unilateral steps at the UN.
As one European country after the next called in their Israeli ambassadors to protest the settlement plans, a source in the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying Israel would “continue to stand up for its vital interests even in the face of international pressure.”
The official said there would be no change in the decision made Friday to build 3,000 housing units in the large settlement blocs, and Israel would go ahead with planning and zoning work for the E1 area linking Jerusalem to Ma’aleh Adumim northeast of the capital.
“The Palestinian unilateral moves at the UN are a blatant and fundamental violation of agreements to which the international community was a guarantor,” the official said. “No one should be surprised that Israel is not sitting with its arms folded in response to the unilateral Palestinian steps.”
The source added that Israel would take further steps if the Palestinians went ahead with more unilateral moves of their own.
Funny how the international community will rush to condemn the construction of a few houses (the horror!) as some sort of “threat to peace,” but are silent as Hamas showers Israel with missiles fired indiscriminately at civilians.