Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to blame for the US anger against Israel over plans to build 2,610 homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamatos.
“Netanyahu has only himself to blame. He is responsible for authorizing building in sensitive areas like Givat Hamatos,” Peace Now Executive Director Yariv Oppenheimer said on Thursday morning.
Plans for the project were published in a local Jerusalem newspaper on Wednesday and were largely ignored until Peace Now issued a report on it hours before Netanyahu was scheduled to meet with US President Barack Obama in the White House.
After the meeting, Netanyahu accused Peace Now of trying to harm his talks with the US.
Oppenheimer said in response that, “The Prime Minister should reserve for himself and his ministers his frustration over the destructive impact of his policies on Israel foreign relations,” Oppenheimer said.
That frustration should not be leveled at Peace Now which is working to preserve the last opportunity to advance a two-state solution, he said.
Netanyahu was incorrect when he said that the September 24th publication of the project’s authorization, which was published almost two years after the municipality issued its approval, was insignificant.
“That publication was significant. It removes the last barrier to the issuance of tenders and the start of construction. In the past when the prime minister wanted to avoid embarrassment he ordered the Jerusalem Municipality to halt construction plans that lacked his authorization,” Oppenheimer said.