Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias said Monday that 500 housing units have recently been authorized in Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood. According to Atias, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat gave the go ahead for the building in order to address the lack of housing in the city, for Jews and Arabs alike.
Atias made these statements on the heels of Palestinian accusations that Israel is not allowing Arabs to build in the city outside of some isolated cases.
According to details gathered so far, out of the 500 housing units authorized in Silwan, only two of them are for Jewish residents living in the neighborhood. Minister Atias presented this figure in response to allegations that Israel is only allowing construction for Jewish housing after 692 housing units were authorized in Jerusalem outskirt neighborhoods Neve Yaakov, Har Homa, and Pisgat Ze'ev.
Minister Atias said that the Housing and Construction Ministry is addressing the housing straits and increasing real estate prices by authorizing large waves of construction. To this end, he also mentioned that some 6,500 housing units were authorized in 54 towns throughout Israel. Out of these, a few thousand were for the Arab sector. According to Atias, the construction in Jerusalem is just a small part of the slated construction in the country.
Senior political sources confirmed in a conversation with Ynet that Israel notified the US ahead of time of its intentions to build 692 apartments beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem. However, it is entirely uncertain whether this prior notification will prevent a confrontation in the international arena between the US, the Palestinians, and the EU.
Fatah's minister for Jerusalem affairs said to Ynet, "The US must respond to this Israeli game."