Despite the unprecedented crisis with the White House following Israel's plan to build 1,600 new housing units in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he plans to forge ahead with construction in Jerusalem "as we have since the Six Day War".
Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely's asked Netanyahu during a Likud faction meeting what will happen after the 10-month construction freeze period ends in September. The prime minister replied that "construction in Jerusalem – and anywhere else – will continue as has been the custom during the past 42 years. The cabinet's decision to end the construction freeze after 10 months remains standing."
During the meeting, Netanyahu spoke about his cabinet's achievements, saying, "The government made three decisions. The first was a bill to simplify legal construction procedures in Israel. Every citizen knows the Via Dolorosa one must suffer in this terrible bureaucracy. Contractors can't build," he said.
"Israel is ranked almost last among developed countries in the length of time required to get a building license. This, along with a new network of roads and railways to the Galilee and the Negev as part of a overhauling reform in transportation. The bill will be presented to the Knesset this week, and therefore I ask for the coalition's help to pass the bill," Netanyahu added.
Despite Netanyahu's remarks, a senior cabinet source on Sunday night told Ynet, "The price for the American insult will be a de-facto construction freeze across greater Jerusalem. There will be no other choice, due to the government's stupidity."
"The necessary gestures will halt construction work in all settlements. Tenders that were in the works will be put on hold, even if those were part of previously approved projects," the source added.