Israel suspends E.Jerusalem settlement building plan: report

The website Ynet said the plans had been frozen by Netanyahu’s office due to their “political sensitivity”

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Israel’s outgoing government, at a time of high tensions with Washington, has suspended a controversial plan to build hundreds of new settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem, a news website reported Wednesday.

The plan involves the construction of 1,500 homes in the settlement neighbourhood of Har Homa where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a controversial speech on the eve of March 17 elections, pledging to build thousands of new homes if reelected.

His remarks on east Jerusalem construction, along with other comments ruling out a Palestinian state, have sparked a bitter fallout with Washington.

The website Ynet said the plans had been frozen by Netanyahu’s office due to their “political sensitivity”.

It quoted unnamed sources at the housing ministry and Jerusalem municipality as saying that two key meetings to discuss advancing the plans had been cancelled for reasons which were unclear.

Planning officials said Netanyahu’s office had not given the green light for the meetings.

In response to a question from AFP, Netanyahu’s office released an obscure statement neither confirming nor denying the report, saying the plan in question “was not sent to the prime minister’s office”.

“Regarding other plans that were not brought up this week, there will be a discussion on the matter when the new government is in place,” it said.

Later on Wednesday, Netanyahu was to be formally tasked by President Reuven Rivlin with piecing together a new coalition government in a process expected to take several weeks.

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