The legal advisor to the Jerusalem Municipality last week ordered a halt to two the planning of two new residential projects in the capital due to their sensitive locations.
Ha'aretz reported that the move was in response to the exaggerated US reaction to the recent approval of 1,600 new apartments in an already-established Jewish neighborhood on Jerusalem's eastern side.
Many Israelis are concerned that Washington's hostile behavior, combined with the Israeli government's overriding fear of upsetting its strongest ally, means that there is now an unofficial Jewish building freeze in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, members of his own Likud Party urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take a hard stand on Israel's right to build in Jerusalem. Netanyahu departed for Washington on Sunday and is expected to hold direct talks with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both of whom applied intense pressure on the Israeli leader following the announcement of the Ramat Shlomo building project.
Speaking to Likud members in Tel Aviv on Sunday evening, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said Washington is trying to turn the Likud into Kadima and force it to implement the left wing's failed peace policies.
"We waved the flag of settlement, in case anyone has forgotten. They told the prime minister to recognize the two-state solution, then to freeze construction, then to start negotiations. (But) there are no negotiations. There was a party (Kadima) that took that road – it's now in the opposition. Are we in government in order to implement their platform?" asked Shalom. "When you stick with your principles, you succeed."
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