In what appeared to be another retreat from pre-election promises, the Netanyahu government has reportedly ordered an unofficial freeze on construction in the eastern Yerushalayim neighborhood of Har Homa.
According to sources in the housing ministry, planned construction of 1,500 apartments in Har Homa has been put on hold.
This despite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech in Har Homa itself the day before elections that Israel would continue to build in Yerushalayim in spite of international pressure to stop.
Two important planning meetings to advance the project scheduled for this week and next were cancelled without explanation. But a government source told Ynet that it was due to “neither planning nor professional reasons,” intimating that political reasons were behind it.
The project was scheduled for discussion Wednesday by the local planning committee, and Interior Ministry approval was expected on Monday.
The Yerushalayim Municipality, which has invested heavily in the project, said: “As the plan is off the agenda of the regional committee at the Interior Ministry, it has been taken off the agenda of the local committee [at the municipality].”
When asked about the decision, the ministry responded that “regarding allegations that the freeze is accordance with guidelines from the Prime Minister’s Office, please contact the Prime Minister’s Office for clarification.”
Approximately 25,000 Jews presently live in Har Homa.