No surprises - Netanyahu and Obama
Photo: Reuters
J'lem construction frozen ahead of PM's US visit
Netanyahu said to be trying to avoid any move that might anger US in light of previous embarrassing incidents during Biden's visit to Israel
Days before he takes off for Washington DC, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to ensure that there are no causes for embarrassment when he is sitting with Obama in the Oval Office.


The prime minister has instructed the Housing Ministry to freeze major building tenders in Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the 67 borders, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday. At this stage there are 1,575 units on the market – 950 in Gilo and 625 in Pisgat Ze'ev.


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In addition, the Interior Ministry's planning commissions have been instructed not to carry out any "surprise" moves in the near future and entrepreneurs who have submitted construction plans for Jerusalem neighborhoods outside the 67 border were surprised to hear that for now at least, their meetings have been postponed "for political reasons."


Netanyahu is trying to avoid making any Israeli move that might anger the US government during his stay in Washington – in light of the previous embarrassing incidents chief among them – the approval of a construction plan for 1,600 apartments in Ramat Shlomo during US Vice President Jo Biden's visit in Israel.


On Wednesday, the US State Department said that Israel's settlement activity was not "constructive" for Middle East peace after a committee approved a plan for 500 new homes in the northern West Bank.


Earlier, Israel's Civil Administration approved the construction of 505 new housing units and legalized 190 units previously built in the West Bank settlement of Shilo.


A Defense Ministry official said that any further construction would call for the government's approval and therefore they do not expect any other units to be built anytime soon. The ministry also stated that the existing housing units were not built on private lands but rather on State-owned land.


The Prime Minister's Office did not wish to comment on the matter.




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