The European Union, which is one of the Palestinian Authority’s biggest benefactors, has succeeded in forcing Israel from building even one new home of Jews in areas of Jerusalem claimed by the PA, although the number of new housing starts in Judea and Samaria has tripled.
No official building freeze has been announced, but reports of a defacto freeze surfaced at the beginning of the year and were confirmed Monday by Army Radio and by sources at the Israel Land Authority. Plans for Jewish construction projects have been suspended in eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem, all of which the Palestinian Authority says will be part of a new PA country.
In stark contrast, housing starts in Judea and Samaria tripled in the first three months of this year.
The Palestinian Authority threatened last month it would sue Israel if dared to build even one more home for Jews in what is popularly termed eastern Jerusalem.
The European Union then went to bat PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and vowed it would back a suit against Israel in The Hague, as reported here.
Now that Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry know that Israel can be successful threatened on the diplomatic front, it remains to be seen if Kerry can succeed in satisfying Abbas’ demand for a total freeze as a condition to direct talks with the Netanyahu government.
Kerry was supposed to fly to Israel in Tuesday but has postponed his fifth trip to Israel this year until next week.
Two totally unrelated reasons for the postponement have been cited by different news sources.
Kerry presumably put off the trip due to urgent meetings on the question of whether the Obama administration will begin arming rebels in Syria, according to the Christian Broadcast Network. It also noted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to visit Poland for two days this week.
The Israel HaYom newspaper said the reason is simply that Kerry wants to give Abbas more time to think twice and removed his pre-conditions for direct talks with Israel.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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