JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Jerusalem planning committee approved the construction of hundreds of apartments in a Jewish neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem.
On Monday, the city’s District Planning and Building Committee backed the building of 500 apartments in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood. The plan is reported to be in response to Palestinian violence in Jerusalem in recent months.
The housing units are part of a plan supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that would see at least 1,000 new housing units in the Ramat Shlomo and Har Homa neighborhoods. The plan was publicized last week in the media.
For Ramat Shlomo, the number of apartments reported last week was 640, but the committee approved fewer.
Last week’s announcement brought harsh criticism from the United States, as well as other countries and international bodies.
The planning committee meeting was organized overnight at the request of Netanyahu, according to the Times of Israel.
“It is unfortunate that after the unequivocal and unanimous position last week of the international community opposing construction in Jerusalem at this sensitive time, authorities chose to move forward,” State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez told Israeli media outlets on Monday evening.
“We continue to engage at the highest level with the Israeli government to make our position absolutely clear – that we view settlement activity as illegitimate and that we unequivocally oppose unilateral steps that prejudge the future of Jerusalem.”