JERUSALEM (The Blaze/AP) — Israel’s prime minister is ordering the building of 2,000 new housing units for Israelis, mainly in east Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that the new construction includes settlements near Jerusalem that he believes would be part of Israel in a peace accord.
An Israeli official said the accelerated building in the part of Jerusalem the Palestinians claim is an answer to recent unilateral moves by the Palestinians. He was speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and object to Jewish housing there. Palestinians demand an end to all construction in Israeli settlements before peace talks can resume. Israel rejects that as a precondition.
Netanyahu’s decision might also serve as a snub to the Obama administration after it publicly rebuked Israel for considering expanding settlements in east Jerusalem.
Back in August, The Blaze reported:
The Obama administration says it is “deeply concerned” by Israeli approval of new housing construction in disputed east Jerusalem.
The State Department says such “unilateral actions work against efforts to resume direct negotiations” and the spirit of the peace process. In a statement, the department says it has raised its objections with the Israeli government.
But after publicly suggesting that Israel “return” to its “1967 borders,” Obama’s “objections” probably do not factor in, nor do they sit well with the Israeli PM.