(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Construction and
Housing Ministry was set to publish tenders for nearly 6,000 new
housing units Sunday, over 1,000 of which will be built beyond the other
side of the Green Line.
Five hundred of the housing units
included in the tender were in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Har
Homa and 180 in the city's Givat Ze'ev neighborhood, both of which are
situated beyond the pre-1967 lines. Another 348 units were offered in
the Beitar Ilit, a settlement south of Jerusalem.
US, UN, EU condemn ‘accelerated’ W. Bank Jewish building
PA, opposition decry West Bank building decision
The units have already received approval for building in various planning committees.
As part of Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Atias's plan to lower
housing prices by building new units, the Israel Lands Authority
published tenders for which lands will be offered for the building of
5,984 in 44 municipalities and towns thorughout the country.
Attias said of the new tenders, "The decision was made last month after
the Palestinians were accepted to UNESCO," calling the move "the right
thing to do in order to ease the housing crisis for young couples in
Israel," Army Radio reported.
Jerusalem's decision to "accelerate" building in east Jerusalem and the
West Bank following the UNESCO vote in late October brought condemnation
from the Palestinians, European capitals and Washington.
MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) said Sunday that building was well within the mainstream political consensus.
"Building and strengthening the Jewish neighborhoods in greater Jerusalem are the common and agreed upon goals of most of the big, Zionist parties," Schneller said. "Opponents of this building are sacrificing Zionist national interest for narrow political purposes."
He went on to say that advancing an internationally-backed political settlement with the Palestinians would rely on Israel's steadfastness to its interests, not giving in to the "Diaspora mentality some of us have."
White House spokesman Jay Carney told a briefing in early November that
the move did not advance the goal of bridging differences between
Israelis and the Palestinians. He added that it was deeply
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at the time, “We continue to make our opposition to this clear.”