Building committee renews 278 housing permits, approves 28 for east Jerusalem

"It looks like someone in the government wants to escalate the situation and provoke Obama," says east Jerusalem Portfolio head Meir Margalit.

Har Homa in Jerusalem (photo credit: REUTERS)
Har Homa in Jerusalem
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee on Wednesday renewed 278 previously approved housing permits in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot and Har Homa, and approved 28 new building permits for Ramot.
According to Mayor Nir Barkat’s spokeswoman, Brachie Sprung, the 278 units were approved several years ago and were renewed by the committee Wednesday as a perfunctory matter to ensure the permits do not expire.
“The majority of these permits were approved years ago and were simply renewed today,” said Sprung.
“Only 28 units for Ramot are new. It’s a long cycle getting housing approved, which began a long time ago.”
“This is not news,” she added.
The announcement comes two days after the committee gave preliminary approval for the construction of 500 homes in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, drawing condemnation from Washington, as well as internationally.
In a statement, Barkat cited the decision as “essential” in order to provide affordable housing and spur the city’s growth.
“The municipality will not freeze construction for Jews in the capital of Israel,” he said at the time.
However, City Councilman Dr.
Meir Margalit (Meretz), who holds the municipality’s east Jerusalem portfolio, derided the announcement as international incitement.
“I think this is something that always is a provocation and counterproductive, but especially in these tense days,” he said Wednesday. “It looks like someone in the government wants to escalate the situation and provoke Obama.”
“I cannot understand the timing, and wonder if politicians here really understand international politics, or think we are alone in the world on an island,” Margalit continued. “It is hard to explain how they came to this miserable position.”