Israel Bumps E-1 Hearing Ahead of Biden Visit

By Hamodia Staff

Naftali Bennett, then-chairman of the right-wing Jewish Home party, looking at the land known as E1, near Yerushalayim, where Israel has plans to build 3,412 housing units despite Palestinian and U.S. objections, on December 4, 2012. (FLASH90)

YERUSHALAYIM – A hearing scheduled to advance a contentious housing project in the environs of Yerushalayim was called off on Monday, as it would likely have angered the Biden administration, coming shortly after the president’s visit in mid-July.

The meeting of the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee, which was to have discussed the E-1 area, was rescheduled from July 18 to September 12. President Biden is slated to be in Israel on July 13-14.

Building in E-1—which envisages 3,412 new housing units for Israelis—would link Yerushalayim with the nearby city of Ma’ale Adumim, effectively preventing the Palestinians from ever getting a contiguous state with east Yerushalayim as its capital.

The project was first proposed nearly two decades ago, and has been shelved repeatedly due to international pressure.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said in March that he has aggressively pressed the Israeli government to abandon the plan.

The White House has been exhorting Israel to cancel the July 18 session, according to two Israeli and U.S. officials cited by The Times of Israel.

The last time Biden was in Israel was in 2010, when he was vice president. The trip was marred by an Israeli announcement of a project in the east Yerushalayim neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo. Biden reportedly took it as a personal insult and issued a statement saying that it “undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel.” Presumably, the White House wishes to avoid anything like a repeat of that incident.

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