Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky has given a green light for the construction of nearly 8,000 new housing units in Jewish neighborhoods on the eastern side of Jerusalem, Israel's Channel Two News reported on Tuesday.
The municipal authorization to build the new homes was given despite the recent revelation by Housing Ministry officials that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has ordered that all plans for new Jewish housing on the eastern side of Jerusalem must receive his personal approval.
Israel came under intense international pressure earlier this month after the Palestinians loudly complained about the building of a mere 300 housing units in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa.
The Palestinians insist that they must be given full sovereignty over the half of Jerusalem that Jordan illegally occupied up until 1967 before they will sign a final status peace agreement with Israel. That caveat led the Bush Administration, which is determined to oversee an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before the end of its term, to strongly urge Israel to halt all construction that could upset the Arab side.