New settlement controversy brewing in Ramat Shlomo
In two weeks, the Interior Ministry's District Planning and Construction Committee will discuss another controversial project, the 1,600 units in Ramat Shlomo that initiated the infamous "Biden Fiasco." This was the project which was approved for deposit during Vice President Joe Biden's visit in March 2010, causing a diplomatic crisis with the United States as Biden felt the announcement was a personal affront.
Ramat Shlomo is one of five Jerusalem ring neighborhoods, along with Gilo, Ramot, Pisgat Zev, and East Talpiyot, which are located across the 1967 Green Line. The District Planning and Construction Committee last discussed the project in August of 2011, during the height of the social justice tent protests, when Yishai trumpeted the project as a way to build affordable housing for young people.
Hagit Ofran, the head of the Settlement Watch Project at Peace Now, said the timing was part of the large settlement push with the announcement of the resumption of the approval process for E1. "The government is continuing to advance everything they can," said Ofran. "I don’t know what they’re thinking of themselves, but they’re doing everything they can to avoid a two state solution."