Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) stated on Thursday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu unofficially froze construction in Maaleh Adumim seven years ago, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Galant mentioned it in explanation of his ministry’s lack of initiatives in the city, that they “can do only some limited things here, because this is a diplomatic decision,” Galant.
Homes should be built to accommodate for thousands of new residents across the city, he said, during a visit on the opening day of the school year. Located near Yerushalayim, Maaleh Adumim ranks as the third-largest city in the combined region of Yehuda and Shomron, with a population of about 40,000.
Plans already exist for building, and he was hopeful that they could be advanced by the end of the year.
Building in Maaleh Adumim has slowed under Netanyahu. The city received permits for only 605 homes in the last six years, compared to the 1,601 approvals given the previous six years, a drop of 62 percent.
Right-wing politicians stirred controversy recently by calling on the government to annex Maaleh Adumim, as the first step in extending sovereignty over all of Area C, which is under Israeli control. The Jewish population in the region is located in Area C.
Galant had a more than semantic point to make about annexation, though.
“Maaleh Adumim is part of Israel and will remain part of Israel. The use of the term annexation is problematic. It implies that something is not yours but will become yours. That is not the case with Maaleh Adumim,” Galant said.