The Prime Minister’s Office asked on Tuesday that the Interior Ministry remove
two housing projects over the Green Line in Jerusalem from the agenda of the
Interior Ministry committee that approves housing projects. The announcement
came hours before President Shimon Peres was scheduled to meet with President
Barack Obama in Washington.
The two projects included 930 housing units
in Har Homa, and dozens of units in Pisgat Ze’ev, which were due to be discussed
by the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee on
East Jerusalem construction projects taken off schedule
First housing project of 2011 over Green Line gets final OK
The move comes three weeks after Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu asked the Interior Ministry to postpone discussions about four large
projects over the Green Line, covering 942 units in Gilo, 980 units in Har Homa,
625 units in Pisgat Ze’ev and 180 units in Ramot.
“The Prime Minister’s
Office asked to remove it from the schedule because of objections raised by the
public,” an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said.
The complicated housing
approval process – which requires multiple approvals from municipal committees
and the Interior Ministry – has certain periods designated for public
comment. The housing projects could return to the agenda in a few weeks,
the spokeswoman said.
Specific requests from the prime minister regarding
housing approvals “don’t happen a lot, but they happen,” she
Following the hullabaloo in March 2010 – when 1,600 housing units
in the capital’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood were approved during a visit by US
Vice President Joe Biden – Netanyahu instituted “increased mechanisms” that give
him greater oversight of the Interior Ministry’s approval
“Israel is maintaining a policy of not engaging or publishing
construction in Jerusalem at politically sensitive times,” the Prime Minister’s
Office said. “Israel has never taken on restrictions in Jerusalem construction.
Israeli building policies have not changed during any of the recent