While the Obama administration has been criticizing a Jewish construction project in an already-existing Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, the U.S. government is aiding the Palestinian Authority in developing infrastructure in eastern Jerusalem, including on property legally owned by Jews. The latest U.S. rebuke of Israel surrounds the Jerusalem municipality’s decision to construct 900 new homes on empty acres in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish housing development in northeastern Jerusalem. The State Department called the new housing plan “damaging and inconsistent” with Israel’s commitment to create a future Palestinian state.
“This is a disappointing development, and we’re concerned about it just as a new Israeli government has been announced,” U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters at press briefing last week. “Israel’s leaders have asserted that they remain committed to a two-state solution, and we need to see that commitment in the actions of … the Israeli government.” Rathke said the U.S. administration would “continue to make our position clear that we view this as illegitimate.” An Interior Ministry spokesperson explained to the Times of Israel the approval last week by the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee to construct the 900 homes is not new. “These are not new apartments,” the ministry spokesperson said. “It is a project that was approved years ago.” MORE