US, EU slam new Jewish housing in Jerusalem

Thursday, August 11, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

The Obama Administration and the European Union this week slammed Israel over approval for the construction of 930 new apartments in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.

The project will be built in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, which is an established an built-up area that is already home to thousands of Israelis.

Actual construction is at least two years off, due to Israel's stifling bureaucratic process, but just the mere idea of new apartments built specifically for Jews in Jerusalem was enough to raise the ire of Israel's "friends" in the West.

"The United States is deeply concerned by continuing Israeli actions with respect to housing construction in Jerusalem," a US State Department official told reporters.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that she was "profoundly disappointed" by the new building plans before repeating the fallacy that Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem constitutes "illegal settlement activity."

Playing off the international criticism, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the new apartments being added to Har Homa "make clear Israel's intention to turn this occupation into effective annexation."

Erekat's outburst invites the reminder that the Palestinian Arabs have never in the course of human history exercised sovereignty over Har Homa, or any other part of Jerusalem for that matter.

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Thursday demonstrated just how much Israel is worried about the American and European bellyaching by approving construction of an additional 1,000 Jewish apartments on the eastern side of Jerusalem, this time in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo.

It was reported that Yishai will approve yet another 2,700 apartments in the neighborhoods of Pisgat Ze'ev and Givat Hamatos in the coming days.

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