(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
In an act of defiance against international condemnation of the Housing Ministry’s decision to publish tenders for 238 apartments in the capital’s Pisgat Ze’ev and Ramot neighborhoods, Likud MK Danny Danon on Monday morning gathered a container of earth from a construction site in Pisgat Ze’ev to send to US President Barack Obama.
He included a note with the verse from Psalms beginning, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem...”
'Israel's new housing units decision violates int'l law'
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“It’s clear, even to the leftists, that these areas will stay Jewish. Everyone is in agreement, and we’re still not building in them. It shows how much the government in Washington is biased against Israel,” Danon said.
He noted that a “de facto freeze” has halted all new building plans and stopped building projects with partial approvals from going forward.
Jerusalem’s “ring neighborhoods” – those located over the Green Line – need thousands of new apartments, he said.
“We’re talking about such few housing units that aren’t going to effect the makeup of Pisgat Ze’ev,” said city councilwoman Yael Antebi (Paz), who represents the neighborhood.
“We’re talking about things there’s really just no need to talk about."
“Every single government before has built freely over the Green Line,” said city councilman Elisha Peleg (Likud). “Officially, the government says there’s no freeze, but the actions on the ground are totally different.”
Pisgat Ze’ev residents welcomed the announcement of the renewal of building in their area.
“There’s a feeling of prosperity here when they’re building,” said resident Ofra Austin, whose property overlooks the site where some of the 80 units will be located.
“There’s a real need. The US can’t decide what we need, because we live here, and we know what we need.”
Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat told the AFP on Friday that the Housing Ministry’s approval of the tenders represented the “government’s insistence on killing every opportunity for resuming negotiations.”
The United States and France expressed their “deep disappointment” with the announcement.
“[The new tenders are] contrary to our efforts to resume direct
negotiations between the parties,” US State Department spokesman P.J.
Crowley told reporters on Saturday.
On Friday, the Housing Ministry and the Israel Lands Authority announced
the sale of some 4,000 plots for building housing units across the
country, 238 of which are in the two neighborhoods.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.