JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s interior minister gave final approval to a project to build 1,600 housing units in a Jewish neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem.
Eli Yishai late Wednesday night approved the housing plan for Ramat Shlomo. In March 2010, the Jerusalem municipality’s approval of the project came during a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, causing a diplomatic uproar.
The Ramat Shlomo announcement comes a week after 930 housing units in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa were given final approval by the Interior Ministry’s Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee. President Obama is among the world leaders who have criticized the approval of the Ramat Shlomo building and new Jewish housing in eastern Jerusalem in general.
The announcement also comes during the fourth week of protests in Israel calling for more available and affordable housing.
Two other plans for more than 2,000 more housing units in eastern Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods are also slated for approval in the near future, according to reports.