Plans for a previously announced huge construction project in eastern Jerusalem were reported on Wednesday hours before the meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama Wednesday.
The 2,610 apartment project was not officially announced but was leaked through social network media and by Peace Now.
In fact, it was announced in December 2012 and includes approximately 800 units for Arabs in the nearby neighborhood of Beit Safafa, but everyone is jumping all over themselves as if this is a new plan.
Housing construction in Israel can take years from their announcement until bulldozers go to work. However, establishment media report every bureaucratic step in building plans as if the project is something new, resulting in fictional numbers.
Whether or not the plans for new homes were posted – or re-posted - again by the government or by Peace Now, as a Housing Ministry official suggested, the report is a clear message to Washington that the Palestinian Authority can forget about dividing the city along the old 1949-1967 borders.
The project is slated for the neighborhood of Givat HaMatos, near Gilo in southern Jerusalem.
Housing Ministry spokesman Ariel Rosenberg did not confirm or deny the new project. But Bloomberg News reported, “Rosenberg said in a phone call that Peace Now probably released the information today to embarrass Netanyahu before his meeting with President Barack Obama.”
Referring to plans to develop an area in Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, Peace Now stated, “Like the E1 plan, it divides the potential Palestinian state and blocks the possibility to connect the Palestinian neighborhoods in south Jerusalem with the future Palestinian state.”
The European Union stated, “At this delicate moment after the Gaza ceasefire, it is essential to avoid actions that may increase tensions, in particular in East Jerusalem.”
There really is not much tension. The Palestinian Authority’s openly anti-Semitic remarks this week, calling Israel genocidal and comparing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the ISIS leaders, has reduced the entire “diplomatic process” to an illusion.
There is no tension because neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority really cares what the other side says.