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Government apparently freezing construction in East Jerusalem neighborhoods

View of the Jewish settlement of Har Homa near the West Bank town of Bethlehem, on December 2, 2010
Jack Guez (AFP/File)
Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that Israel will not stop building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem

The Israeli government has ordered a freeze on the construction of 6,000 housing units in contested neighborhoods of Jerusalem, Army Radio reported on Sunday. The station reported on the existence of a previously unseen document that shows that the construction of the projects was frozen at a local level after intervention from the government.

However a government source denied to Army Radio that there was a building freeze, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated in the past that Israel will not stop building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, despite facing criticism from settler leaders who say that a "de facto freeze" is in place.

The halt on construction covers 2,200 housing units in the Gilo neighborhood, 2,000 units in Har Homa, 500 in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, over 500 units in Pisgat Zeev and two projects of 250 units in Ramot.

In March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office rejected a report by Israel's Channel 2 of an expected agreement on Israel’s part to not build outside of settlement blocs in the West Bank in exchange for the Trump administration’s approval of a new settlement for the evacuees of the former Amona outpost.

In April, Israel's Housing Minstry announced plans to build approximately 15,000 new units in East Jerusalem.

Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, arrived in Israel on Monday as President Donald Trump's administration looks to draft an American statement of principles for negotiating the peace talks between the longstanding adversaries.

Middle East Adviser and son-in-law to Trump, Jared Kushner, is expected to arrive in the region on Wednesday for meetings in both Israel and the West Bank.

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