Israel Plans 1,000 Housing Units in East Jerusalem
By ISABEL KERSHNER
The plans were published for public review in the advertising sections of local newspapers on Friday, shortly before the prime minister of
Mr. Netanyahu, who traveled to the United States for the annual convention of the Jewish Federations of North America, met Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Sunday and was expected to meet Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton later this week.
“We were deeply disappointed by the announcement of advance planning for new housing units in sensitive areas of
“We have long urged both parties to avoid actions which could undermine trust, including in
It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Netanyahu knew in advance about Friday’s advertisements, which were published in the name of the chairwoman of the Interior Ministry’s district planning committee.
Efrat Orbach, the Interior Ministry spokeswoman, played down the significance of the publication of the latest plans for the Jewish district known as Har Homa. She said on Monday that the advertisement of the plans was a purely “technical” issue, opening them up for objections from the public, and that the timing was a function of bureaucracy. The plans gained initial approval in the district planning committee about two years ago, and it will be years until the new units are actually built.
Nevertheless, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said that the Palestinians condemned the latest plans “in the strongest possible terms.”
Mr. Erekat said by telephone that Mr. Netanyahu “is defying everyone and saying, ‘My choice is settlements, not peace.’ ”
Hagit Ofran of Peace Now, an Israeli advocacy group that opposes and monitors Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, called the publication of the plans “a real provocation.”
The plans, once approved, would constitute a considerable expansion of Har Homa, a Jewish residential development in southern
Har Homa has long been a particular site of contention. It was established in the late 1990s during Mr. Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, despite strong American opposition and vigorous Palestinian protests. Located within the city limits set by
Plans were published in recent days for an additional 320 housing units in another disputed area of
Under intense American and Palestinian pressure, the Israeli government agreed last year to a 10-month moratorium on new residential building in
Israel insisted that its temporary moratorium did not apply in East Jerusalem, where it claims sovereignty and where some 200,000 Jews now live. But there was little movement in building plans there during the freeze.
Also Monday, the foreign minister of
Israel greatly increased the flow of goods into Gaza through the land crossings under international pressure last summer, after an Israeli raid on a flotilla trying to breach the naval blockade led to clashes and the death of nine activists on board a Turkish vessel.
Hamas, the Islamic militant group that won parliamentary elections in 2006 and took full control of Gaza in 2007, is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the
The German foreign minister also called for the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who has been held in
Fares Akram contributed reporting from
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs