(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not step in and try to convince Jerusalem
Mayor Nir Barkat to shelve the Gan Hamelech plan in Silwan because of the
distinction he makes between development in the West Bank and in Jerusalem,
officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said on Monday.
minister obviously understands the sensitivity of the issue of Jerusalem, but he
has been very clear, and has said continuously, that the settlement freeze in
the West Bank does not include Jerusalem, and he has never said he would freeze
development in Jerusalem,” the official said.
Just before US Vice
President Joe Biden’s visit here in March, Netanyahu asked Barkat to
pushing forward with the plan and to try to come to an agreement with
residents, some of whose homes were to be demolished.
“We are still
hopeful that the dialogue will lead to an agreement,” the official said,
however, that Netanyahu did not intervene now – on the eve of his visit
week to Washington for a meeting with US President Barack Obama –
process is in its very preliminary stages, nothing is happening right
happening on the ground, and there is ample time for objections to be
The official said there was “transparency” on this issue with
the US, and that Washington was both well aware of the nature of the
of the distinction Netanyahu makes between Jewish construction in the
where there is a temporary moratorium, and in Jerusalem, where the
was never imposed.