Yishai receives invite to Washington

J'lem planning c'tee to meet for 1st time since Biden visit.

April 29, 2010 05:27
1 minute read.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai

Eli Yishai 311 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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Interior Minister Eli Yishai received an official invitation to Washington late Wednesday, in a move meant to foster closer relations between the Obama administration and Israeli officials responsible for exacerbating tensions between the two countries over the issue of Jewish construction in Jerusalem.

The invitation was given to Yishai by Dan Shapiro, a Middle East expert at the US National Security Council.

In March, Yishai had stood behind the announcement of new construction in Ramat Shlomo, in the northeastern part of the capital, during US Vice President Joe Biden's recent visit to the region.

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In a related development, it was said Wednesday that the capital's Local Planning and Building Committee would convene this coming Tuesday for the first time since its sessions were frozen at the behest of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu's request had been aimed at drawing up regulations that would prevent future embarrassments similar to last month's badly timed approval of 1,600 housing units in Ramat Shlomo.

As the committee had not convened since the Biden crisis, all Jerusalem construction projects were in effect frozen - even projects located in West Jerusalem.

Tuesday's meeting will not deal with east Jerusalem building permits, but a second session on Thursday will discuss plans for small-scale prospective housing projects in the area.

According to Army Radio, Yishai instructed the committee to submit any politically sensitive building plans to him for approval.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, currently on a visit to Washington, termed the current US calls for a building freeze ‘A slap in the face'.

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