ISRAEL LIFTS RESTRICTIONS ON BUILDING MORE HOMES IN EAST JERUSALEM
JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told senior ministers he is lifting restrictions on settlement building in East Jerusalem, a statement said on Sunday, immediately after the city's municipal government approved permits for the building of hundreds of new homes in the area. "There is no longer a need to coordinate construction in the Jewish neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. We can build where we want and as much as we want," the statement quoted Netanyahu as saying, adding that he also intended to allow the start of building in the West Bank. "My vision is to enact sovereignty over all the settlements," the statement also said, pointing to Netanyahu's apparent bid to win greater support from settlers and appeal to a right-wing coalition partner. Netanyahu told the ministers of the move at a meeting where they also decided unanimously to postpone discussing a bill proposing the Israeli annexation of the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, home to 40,000 Israelis near Jerusalem. A brief statement issued after the discussion by the ministerial forum known as the Security Cabinet, said work on the bill would be delayed until after Netanyahu meets the new US President, Donald Trump. The Palestinians denounced the move. "We strongly condemn the Israeli decision to approve the construction," Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told agencies.