Tuesday, April 5, 2011
And again: Israel approves the building of 942 new homes in Gilo in East Jerusalem
Israel continues its building program in East-Jerusalem. AFP reports that the Jerusalem city council on Monday approved the construction of 942 new homes in Gilo, a settlement neighbourhood opposite the West bank towns of Bethlehem and Beit Jala.
The municipality says the project is an addition to an earlier tranche of more than 900 new homes in Gilo approved in November 2009. At the time Washington expressed ´dismay´ over the move. This time the decision was taken a day ahead of a meeting at the White House between Israeli president Shimon Peres and US president Barack Obama.
Israel has a nose for timing in cases like this. In March 2010 the interior ministry announced a plan to build 1,600 settler homes in Ramat Shlomo, an Orthodox neighbourhood also in East Jerusalem. That announcement coincided with a a visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to Israel. It provoked a fierce American reaction at the time, and soured the relations with Washington for several months.