Israel’s plan to build eastern Jerusalem housing has PA seeing red


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A new housing offering by Israel for more than 1,200 units in eastern Jerusalem has reinforced the Palestinian Authority’s desire to ask the United Nations for upgraded status, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas said.

Israel’s Construction and Housing Ministry on Tuesday reportedly published tenders for the construction of 607 housing units in Pisgat Ze’ev and 606 in Ramot, both Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeina, told the French news agency AFP that it only reinforces the Palestinians’ desire to ask the U.N. General Assembly this month for an upgrade to non-member state status.

In a statement Tuesday, Peace Now said that "It seems that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is afraid of the new administration that is being elected today in the U.S., and he has chosen the day of election to publish the tenders so that there will be the least public attention to his action.”

In addition, the ministry reissued tenders for 72 housing units in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The units were not sold when offered last December, according to Peace Now.

"This is another indication to the fact that the settlement of Ariel is not so attractive for Israelis, and that the government’s efforts to expand it comes mainly from political reasons and not due to the housing needs," the group’s statement said.

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