Next crisis with US underway? The Interior Ministry's district committee for construction and planning approved Thursday evening two major plans for some 1,550 housing units in contentious Jerusalem neighborhoods.
The construction plans for Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev, both located beyond the Green Line, were given the go-ahead as President Barack Obama was delivering his major Mideast policy speech.
More homes in Pisgat Ze'ev (Photo: AFP)
Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's departure to Washington Thursday evening, the government secretary ordered the committee to proceed with the touchy session.
The two plans, for 930 housing units in Har Homa and 620 units in Pisgat Ze'ev, were scheduled to be brought up for discussion at the beginning of last month, but the session was postponed.
"The timing for the discussion of the Har Home plan is not coincidental," one committee member, Yair Gabai, told Ynet. "The district committee never convenes at such late hours. This is a declaration of a diplomatic nature meant to clear the fog around the Jerusalem question, so that nobody in the world would think that the Israeli government intends to discuss Jerusalem's division."
"Israel's government decided to say today openly and clearly to the whole world that Jerusalem is not up for negotiations and will remain united," he said. "This is the best gift we could have received for the upcoming Jerusalem Day.
Gabai urged the government to advance plans for thousands of other housing units "In order to provide a response to the many young couples who wish to live in Jerusalem."