JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jerusalem municipality approved the construction of four apartment buildings on the Mount of Olives in eastern Jerusalem.
The city’s planning and building committee approved the construction, which has been in the works for several years, on Monday. The buildings, which will house 24 Jewish families, will be located next to the long-established Beit Orot yeshiva. The land is privately owned.
American Jewish millionaire Irving Moskowitz initiated the project, according to reports. Moskowitz last year received permission from the city to build 20 apartments on other eastern Jerusalem land.
Monday’s approval comes as the Palestinians continue to refuse to come back to the peace negotiating table until Israel halts all settlement construction, including in Jerusalem. The Palestinians say that eastern Jerusalem will be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Last week, the government solicited bids to build nearly 700 new apartments in Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem as part of a tender issued for 6,500 housing units in 54 communities throughout Israel.
The 10-month freeze on new West Bank settlement construction announced in November does not include Jerusalem.