Israel’s housing minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) has given final approval to the construction of more than 1,000 apartments in Jewish Judea and Samaria and in East Jerusalem, three days before Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are to resume in Jerusalem, and two days before the release of the first batch of Palestinian terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands.
Minister Ariel said close to 800 apartments will be built in East Jerusalem and close to 400 in several large Jewish towns east of the “green line.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had long insisted he would not resume talks without an Israeli settlement freeze. In the end, he acquiesced, in response to intense U.S. pressure.
Israeli negotiator Minister Tzipi Livni is also vehemently opposed to resuming construction in Jewish areas east of the “green line.”