Palestinians Clash with Israeli Police over E. Jerusalem
In East Jerusalem, Ministry of Housing and Construction raises tensions with notice: Clashes break out
A notice put out by the Ministry of Housing and Construction telling of construction plans for Israel to build over 300 housing units in East Jerusalem brought an activist group - called Peace Now - out in full force, and Palestinians clashed with Israeli police forces there.
Due to these settlement construction plans, US-Israel relations are at an all time low.
As tensions mounted, both Palestinians and Israeli police forces sustained injuries in a rock throwing incident, and 25 Palestinians were arrested.
Bidding is set to begin in April and May, and Israeli officials point out that the ensuing conflict really stems months back.
US Vice President Joe Biden embarrassed on trip
When Vice President Joe Biden was on his trip to Jerusalem last week, the Interior Ministry was announcing plans for 1600 new housing units to be built, which caused major conflict with both Biden and the entire Obama Administration, coming as it did on the heels of the start of American-brokered Israeli-Palestinian indirect peace talks, the first in more than a year.
It is believed the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is attempting to ward off the "two state solution" as a conflict resolution measure between Palestinians and Israel, and the construction plans are an attempt to build a solid and unified Israeli state. His measures have caused the Obama administration to apply increasing pressure on the Prime Minister to halt building.
Opposition from within Israel: Peace Now
There do exist Israeli groups who oppose Israeli settlement activity and monitor new developments. These now say there are thousands more Jewish housing units being planned for East Jerusalem, at various stages of the bureaucratic process.
The Islamic Hamas has called for "a day of rage" to protest invasion of borders in a dispute which dates back to 1967. A ten month freeze on new construction made by Israel in November seems not to be honored as well.
In a speech in Parliament on Monday, Mr. Netanyahu said, “No government of Israel for the last 40 years has agreed to place restrictions on building in Jerusalem,” listing every prime minister from Levi Eshkol to Ehud Olmert.
”During that time,” he continued, “all these governments have built in the suburbs of Jerusalem — in Gilo, in Ramot, in Neve Yaakov, in Ramat Eshkol, in French Hill, in Pisgat Zeev, in Ramat Shlomo and elsewhere.”
The establishment of these suburbs “did not harm the Arabs of East Jerusalem in any shape or form and did not come at their expense,” he said.
Ariel Rosenberg, a spokesman for the Israeli Housing and Construction Ministry, said the invitation for bids to build in Neve Yaakov was originally published in 2009 and was “not something new.” He had no immediate explanation of why there was a new announcement on the Web site dated March 11. A spokeswoman for the Israel Lands Authority said this was a Housing Ministry matter and had no comment.