Israel appears to back off controversial East Jerusalem neighborhood plan

A controversial plan for some 9,000 housing units for ultra-Orthodox Jews in a new East Jerusalem neighborhood has been removed from the agenda of an upcoming district planning meeting, where it had been expected to be advanced, a researcher for the left-wing Peace Now organization says.

According to Walla news, Israeli officials told the White House that the plan to build a new neighborhood over the abandoned Atarot airport is being shelved.

Officials in Israel clarified to Washington that the initial backing the plan received this week came from a local Jerusalem planning commission, but that it won’t advance to the district planning commission, which is controlled by the government, according to the report.

However, a separate report in Ynet says Israeli officials told US counterparts that it would be a year before the plan reaches the government-controlled commission, though they did not say it would be squelched.

According to the Ynet report, US officials had sought clarifications from Israel as to why the plan was being pushed ahead after former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had delayed it for a decade.

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