Construction site in Jerusalem 521.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem /The Jerusalem Post)
Those who are concerned about Jewish building in east Jerusalem should call the
Prime Minister’s Office, Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel told Army
Radio on Thursday.
In a brief exchange that lasted a minute, Army Radio
asked him, “Is there no more building in Jerusalem over the Green line?” “Yes,”
Ariel responded. “It is very problematic. The statistics speak for
I have nothing to add beyond this. Let’s go on to the next
question.” He added, “In this matter, let me give you another number. It
will call the prime minister’s office and you can ask them your
Army Radio pressed him to state if the prime minister’s
office was preventing the authorization of east Jerusalem
ask that you address those questions to (02) 670- 5511 [the prime minister’s
switch board],” Ariel said.
He was more candid last week when he met with
settler leaders. There, he explained that the bureaucratic and technical process
was completed for thousands of tenders. He told the settler leaders that he was
simply waiting for authorization to publish the tenders.
Peace Now, no tenders have been issued for new Jewish homes in east Jerusalem
and the West Bank since January.
Palestinians have insisted that Israel
must halt West Bank settlement activity and Jewish building in east Jerusalem as
a precondition to direct talks.
Israel has refused to cede to this
demand. But as a gesture in support of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s
efforts to rekindle the frozen peace talks, Netanyahu has agreed not to take any
active steps with regard to building, such as issuing tenders.
Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman has been the most outspoken politician on the
issue. He told Army Radio earlier this week that this was a temporary
“We want John Kerry to succeed,” he said. “It is more important
to be wise than right.”
Netanyahu has, however, agreed to allow the
bureaucratic process to continue for West Bank and east Jerusalem construction,
up to the point of authorization.
This week, for example, zoning plans
with the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria for 550
homes in the Bruchin settlement and 675 in the Itamar settlement.
approved, the plans would vastly expand
the size of both settlements located in
the Samaria region of the West Bank.