The Prime Minister’s Office has denied allegations by Peace Now that plans are afoot for more building in the E1 area between Yerushalayim and Maalei Adumim, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday night.
Peace Now contended on Monday that government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information law showed that then-Housing Minister Uri Ariel had initiated plans for 55,548 units in Yehudah and Shomron, including 8,372 new units in E1.
The Palestinians claim the E1 land for its future state, but Israel has said that E1 will be part of its final borders in any final status agreement.
On Tuesday night, U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said, “Our concern about the E1 site in specific is well-known. We oppose any steps to pave the way for construction in E1.”
But PMO officials dismissed Ariel’s plans as not operational.
“While he was serving as minister of Housing in the previous government, Uri Ariel commissioned some theoretical plans for development in E1,” the PMO officials said.
“He did so of his own initiative and without the required authorization. The Ministry of Housing has no authority either to plan or build beyond the Green Line.
“These plans therefore have no standing and are not binding on anyone,” the officials said.