Building tenders for 1,285 housing units located beyond the Green Line were issued by the Israel Land Authority on Monday. The majority of the tenders were in Jerusalem neighborhoods formally annexed by Israel.
Of the units, 606 are slated for Ramot and 607 for Pisgat Ze’ev, both Jewish neighborhoods inside Jerusalem city limits built on land captured during the 1967 Six Day War. An additional 72 units are slated for the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
Peace Now called the tenders Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “true answer” to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and linked the issue to the US elections.
On Thursday, Abbas told Channel 2 News that he was not seeking territory within pre-1967 Israel and did not personally seek the right to live in Israel, even though he was born in Safed, in remarks that implied a moderated stance on the longstanding Palestinian demand for a “right of return” to Israel for millions of refugees and descendants of refugees.
“Chairman Abbas again declared his strong commitment to the two-state solution, and Netanyahu replied with thousands of new housing units in settlements,” the left-wing Peace Now said in a statement. “It seems that Netanyahu is afraid of the new administration that is being elected today in the US, and he has chosen this time to publish the tenders so that there will be the least public attention to his action.”
Building by Israel in East Jerusalem is often an issue of international controversy, as Palestinians claim it as part of the capital of their future state.