Despite the end of the West Bank building moratorium, the construction of thousands of planned homes are frozen in practice, as top government officials refrain from granting them the final go-ahead, Yedioth Athronoth reported Monday.
Among other homes, about 1,300 housing units in Jerusalem, which passed all the planning and construction procedures, are not getting the green light that would turn them from blueprints to active construction sites.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently received a sensitive list that includes another 3,600 planned housing units in the rest of Judea and Samaria. As noted, most of these plans are not getting the final stamp of approval at this time.
Recently the prime minister informed the United States in advance of his plan to issue tenders for east Jerusalem construction of 240 homes, thereby ensuring a minor American response. However, the PM was apparently forced to give up plans to market another 600 apartments, in Har Homa, after the US Administration made it clear that this would put an immediate end to peace talks with the Palestinians.
"This is a disaster for Jerusalem," a real estate source in the capital said. "The freeze of the past year will create an immense shortage of apartments within a year or two, and dramatic price hikes."
"We are certainly in a trap," a senior government official said. "Long-standing Jerusalem neighborhoods are frozen in practice at this time already, as well as the settlement blocs. Every tender will create huge global resonance at this time…should Netanyahu grant the green light, construction work will get underway, but this won't happen soon apparently."
Meanwhile, another 3,727 housing units in Judea and Samaria have also been finalized and are only awaiting the approval of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. These projects, which are not being approved at this time, include 1,500 homes in the community of Beiter, 500 in Givat Ze'ev, and another 500 units in Karnei Shomron.