Palestinians on Tuesday attacked Israeli plans to issue tenders for 1,213
housing units in Jewish east Jerusalem neighborhoods and 72 in the West Bank
settlement of Ariel. This includes 607 in Pisgat Ze’ev and 606 in Ramot, both of
which are located in Jerusalem, but over the pre- 1967 line.
Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said, “Such organized efforts to
construct more units in the illegal settlements of Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramot and Ariel
are a deliberate attempt to breach international law and to destroy all chances
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein
(Likud) defended the move, noting that Israel has always insisted that it has a
right to build in Jerusalem, which it considers to be the country’s united
The Palestinians, on the other hand, claim the eastern
portion of the city as the future capital of their state.
that in any scenario that resolves the conflict with the Palestinians, these two
neighborhoods will remain part of Israel.
A senior Israeli official said
that the tenders were simply the execution of a government decision from
November and December of last year to build more in east Jerusalem and the West
The government made that decision in response to the Palestinians’
successful bid to become the 195th member of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“The lower echelons are
simply implementing it,” he said.
Spokesmen for the Construction and
Housing Ministry confirmed that information about these projects had previously
been published and condemned by the international community.
that the housing was necessary to relieve a shortage in the city and bring down
The tenders was publicized Tuesday morning by Peace Now, after
the information was posted on the ministry’s website on Monday. Hagit Ofran of
Peace Now confirmed that many of the tenders were indeed part of the post-UNESCO
package. But she said the 607 Pisgat Ze’ev units were new.
regarding the pending tenders was first publicized a few weeks ago in the media,
including The Jerusalem Post.
But Ashrawi said that the announcement of
the building “sends a clear message to both the international community and to
the Palestinians that Israel is more committed to annexing Palestinian land than
committing to any peace resolution with the Palestinian people.”