Peace Now slammed a large increase in construction approvals for areas of Jerusalem over the 1967 Green Line, in their annual report about construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem that was released on Tuesday.
Between 2010 and 2011, the number of apartment units in east Jerusalem which received final approval increased by more than sevenfold, from 495 units to 3,690 units. The figure for 2010 is closer to the average number of units that received final approval in east Jerusalem between 2005 and 2009, an average of 425 per year.
Deputy Minister Pepe Alalu (Meretz), who sits on the Local Planning and Building Committee, attributed the leap in final approvals to a variety of causes: people finally beginning to appreciate the severe lack of housing in Jerusalem, less fear of President Obama, who is wrapped up in the upcoming election, and a reaction to the de facto freeze of east Jerusalem construction in 2010 following “the Biden fiasco” when a project for 1,600 units in Ramat Shlomo was announced during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit in March 2010.
Alalu added that the approved units were part of expansions of existing neighborhood, which are “problematic,” but that almost everyone knows that these neighborhoods will continue to be part of Israel, according to the Clinton parameters. The Clinton parameters state that areas that have a Jewish majority will stay part of Israel while areas that have an Arab majority could become part of a future Palestinian state.