(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) confirmed to
Army Radio an earlier report indicating that the Israeli government has
instituted a de-facto moratorium on the building of new homes in the
disputed Jewish areas of the eastern part of Jerusalem since the start
of this year.
“This is very problematic,” Ariel told Army Radio.
“The facts speak for themselves. This is something that needs to be
taken up with the prime minister’s bureau.”
Army Radio reported
earlier this week that political figures and technocrats in a number of
government agencies accuse Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his
aides of stymieing efforts to populate the predominantly Arab portion of
the capital city, which was captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, with
Critics of the prime minister, including officials in the
Israel Land Administration, the Jerusalem municipality, and the Yesha
Council, say Netanyahu is fearful of international criticism. It is this
fear, they say, that is driving him to break a campaign promise to
continue Jewish construction beyond the Green Line.
Housing Ministry statistics cited by Army Radio, the government
green-lighted the sale of 200 apartments over the course of 2010 and
2011. Last year, the government authorized the sale of 1,500 apartments
in eastern Jerusalem. ILA officials say officials in the prime
minister’s bureau have directly intervened to prevent the marketing of
available land to the public.