A Monday meeting of the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee deliberated over some 56 requests for construction licensing in various parts of the capital, according to a Jerusalem Municipality spokesman.

The committee, which is under the jurisdiction of the municipality, did not hear requests for properties outside the city’s municipal boundaries, as had been reported on Sunday, but instead revolved around minor approvals for home additions such as patios, extra rooms or even elevators for apartment buildings within the capital.

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A municipality source told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the hearings had been scheduled specifically for such matters long in advance and had “no connection” to the current diplomatic row with the US over construction in the capital’s eastern neighborhoods.

“This is a completely normal meeting of the committee, and there are no large-scale building plans being considered today,” the source said. “Nothing new is being brought up – only small things, like requests to build patios or other home renovations.”

Nonetheless, the source confirmed, the committee did deliberate over a number of licensing requests for Arab residents of east Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Beit Safafa, Ras el-Amud, Sur Bahir, Jebl Mukaber, A-Tur and Umm Tura.

The local committee meeting came a day after the cancellation of two Jerusalem Regional Planning and Building Committee meetings had fueled speculation of a connection between plans that were to be discussed at the meetings and the current diplomatic storm regarding construction in areas of Jerusalem located beyond the Green Line.

Officials from the Interior Ministry however, which oversees the regional committee, were quick to dismiss the speculation on Sunday, stressing that the cancellations were made after it became clear that the committee’s director [Ruth Yosef] had been invited to Knesset hearings that coincided with the committee meetings.
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