Yishai approves 1,000 housing units in east Jerusalem

Interior minister is expected to approve an additional 2,700 units one week after US, EU slam go-ahead on Har Homa construction project.

August 11, 2011 10:52
1 minute read.
Apartment construction in Givat Ze'ev

Givat Ze'ev construction 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Thursday approved an additional 1,600 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of east Jerusalem, which is located over the Green Line.

The interior minister was expected to approve in the coming days an additional 700 housing units in east Jerusalem Pisgat Ze'ev and another 2,000 in Givat Hamatos, Army Radio reported.

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Ashton: Har Homa housing approval damages peace
US is 'deeply concerned' by new e. J'lem construction

Last week, Yishai approved over 900 units in Har Homa, drawing the ire of the United States and the European Union.

The US State Department on Tuesday said it is "deeply concerned by the decision to construct 930 housing units in Har Homa.

"Unilateral actions work against efforts to resume direct negotiations and contradict the logic of a reasonable and necessary agreement between the parties," the official said, adding that a peaceful outcome to the ongoing crisis between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through "good faith and direct negotiations."

The US has raised the issue of the neighborhood - which was approved last week - with the government in Jerusalem, the official said.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton late last week also expressed disapproval of the move, saying she was "profoundly disappointed."

"I am profoundly disappointed by Thursday's approval of a project that has triggered fierce criticism from the Palestinians and the international community," Ashton said.

Earlier on Friday, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat also slammed the decision and said "it makes clear Israel's intention to turn this occupation into effective annexation."

"This is a flagrant display of disrespect and disdain to the international community, which has repeatedly condemned Israeli settlement construction as an illegal obstacle to peace," Erekat said in a statement.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report

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