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Friday, February 24, 2012
Jerusalem construction frozen ahead of PM US visit

J'lem construction frozen ahead of PM's US visit

Netanyahu said to be trying to avoid any move that might anger US in light
of previous embarrassing incidents during Biden's visit to Israel

Ofer Petersberg Published YNET : 02.24.12, 16:04 / Israel News
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4194333,00.html

Days before he takes off for Washington DC, Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu is seeking to ensure that there are no causes for embarrassment
when he is sitting with Obama in the Oval Office.

The prime minister has instructed the Housing Ministry to freeze major
building tenders in Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the 67 borders, Yedioth
Ahronoth reported Friday. At this stage there are 1,575 units on the
market 950 in Gilo and 625 in Pisgat Ze'ev.

In addition, the Interior Ministry's planning commissions have been
instructed not to carry out any "surprise" moves in the near future and
entrepreneurs who have submitted construction plans for Jerusalem
neighborhoods outside the 67 border were surprised to hear that for now at
least, their meetings have been postponed "for political reasons."

Netanyahu is trying to avoid making any Israeli move that might anger the US
government during his stay in Washington in light of the previous
embarrassing incidents chief among them the approval of a construction
plan for 1,600 apartments in Ramat Shlomo during US Vice President Jo
Biden's visit in Israel.

On Wednesday, the US State Department said that Israel's settlement activity
was not "constructive" for Middle East peace after a committee approved a
plan for 500 new homes in the northern West Bank.

Earlier, Israel's Civil Administration approved the construction of 505 new
housing units and legalized 190 units previously built in the West Bank
settlement of Shilo.

A Defense Ministry official said that any further construction would call
for the government's approval and therefore they do not expect any other
units to be built anytime soon. The ministry also stated that the existing
housing units were not built on private lands but rather on State-owned
land.

The Prime Minister's Office did not wish to comment on the matter.

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