Jerusalem City Manager Yair Ma'ayan told Ha'aretz on Tuesday that the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert continues to prevent the construction of new Jewish housing on the eastern side of the Israeli capital.
Ma'ayan firmly rejected a statement earlier in the day by Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim insisting that there are no politically motivated delays to the issuing of construction tenders in Jerusalem.
Late last year, Jerusalem municipal officials and unnamed Housing Ministry sources told Israeli media that Mr. Olmert had ordered that no new Jewish housing units were to be built on the side of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Arabs without his personal approval.
Mr. Olmert denied that there was a construction freeze in eastern Jerusalem, but failed to address claims that his direct authorization was henceforth required to build new Jewish homes.
Further spreading light on the issue, Hatem Abdel Qader, the Jerusalem affairs adviser to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the Olmert government is already engaged in ongoing negotiations over the future control of Jerusalem.
Mr. Olmert has vigorously denied that Israel is at this stage holding talks over the fate of Jerusalem, which would constitute a violation of Israeli law.
The Palestinians insist Israel must surrender all of the portions of Jerusalem previously occupied by Jordan for a final status peace agreement to be reached.
Want more news from Israel?
Click Here to sign up for our FREE daily email updates