AFTER AN 18-month settlement freeze, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of right-wing politicians this week that he would authorise 454 new flats in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ramat Shlomo, which lies beyond the Green Line.
Mr Netanyahu has stressed that he has been blocking new building projects in the West Bank and east Jerusalem due to international pressure. In the past 18 months, the only settlement to receive building permits was Bet El.
The buildings in strictly-Orthodox Ramat Shlomo had been authorised in the past, but the planning process was frozen for over a year.
The green light is seen as a concession by Mr Netanyahu to his pro-settlement coalition partners and was postponed until this week to avoid new tension with the Obama administration ahead of last week’s White House meeting.
The building permits are just one of a number of gestures made by the prime minister to the right wing, which include outlawing the northern branch of the Islamic Movement. The group has been accused of inciting violence on Temple Mount .