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Council approves construction of 32 new homes in East Jerusalem
Approval is part of plan to build a total of 250 apartment units in Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood, despite Obama administration's characterization of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem as settlements.
The Jerusalem municipal planning committee on Monday approved construction of 32 new apartments in a Jewish neighborhood across the Green Line, despite the Obama administration's declared opposition to building in the eastern part of the city.
"We will continue to plan and build in every neighborhood in this city and we will not allow external forces to intervene," said Elisha Peleg, a member of the Jerusalem Municipal Planning and Construction Committee.
The decision to build in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood comes less than a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington.
Obama's administration has voiced extreme disappointment with Israel over its decision to continue building in East Jerusalem, despite the 10-month construction freeze.
Construction of the apartments could begin as early as Tuesday. The homes in question are just a fraction of the 250 units the committee is intent on building in the neighborhood.
The rift with the United States began in March when Interior Ministry approved the building of 1,600 new housing units in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of East Jerusalem during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the region.
Biden characterized the decision as undermining peace efforts, and the Obama administration has since made clear that it views construction in East Jerusalem as a violation of the settlement freeze. Israel, on the other hand, insists that neighborhoods in Jerusalem should not be likened to West Bank settlements.