While publicly rejecting US President Barack Obama's demand that Jews top building in parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has implemented an unofficial Jewish building freeze in the capital.
That according to Jerusalem municipal officials who have spoken to various foreign media outlets. Jerusalem Councilman Meir Margalist confirmed for Israel National News that "the committees that deal with [building projects] are not even meeting anymore."
An Interior Ministry spokeswoman attempted to clarify by pointing out the new measures are not a "building freeze," but rather "bureaucracy."
Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that Jews have a right to build in all parts of Jerusalem, as do Arabs. Officially accepting the US demands regarding Jewish construction in the city would essentially be an acknowledgement of Palestinian claims to half the city.
Some believe the unofficial freeze was actually worked out between Netanyahu and Obama as a means of placating the Americans while publicly maintaining Israel's original position. If that is the case, it is unlikely to work, as the Palestinians have made clear they will accept nothing short of Israel officially and publicly surrendering its right to and control over the eastern half of Jerusalem and emptying all Jewish neighborhoods located there of their residents.