The Jerusalem Local Planning Committee on Wednesday afternoon gave final approval for plans to construct 2,610 new housing units in Givat Hamatos, a new neighborhood in southeast Jerusalem located across the Green Line.
The move comes amid widespread international censure of Israeli plans to build up to 6,500 new apartments in east Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told 11 envoys from Asian and Pacific countries on Wednesday that Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, and Israel would continue to build it.
Netanyahu made his comments on the terrace of the King David Hotel, overlooking the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.
"I want to take the opportunity to point out a simple fact," he said. "The walls of Jerusalem that you see behind us represent the capital of the Jewish people for some 3,000 years."
Netanyahu said every Israeli government has built in Jerusalem, "and we will not change that."
"This is something natural, and I ask each of you to imagine that you would be restricted in building in your capitals," he said. "This is not logical, and for us what is important is that we are committed to our capital, to peace, and we will build in Jerusalem for all its residents."
Attending the meeting with Netanyahu were the ambassadors of China, India, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
On Monday, the Interior Ministry in a surprising move did not approve a major part of the new Givat Hamatos neighborhood
. The committee decided to postpone more than 1,000 units for both Arabs and Jews which would be located in both Beit Safafa and Givat Hamatos.
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