Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Despite pressure,J'lem c'tee approves Gilo expansion; Mayor Barkat: US demand of building halt is race Discrimination

(JPOST, INN).Despite US pressure to cease building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem neighborhoods, the capital's Construction and Planning Committee on Tuesday afternoon approved the building of an additional 850 housing units in Gilo.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai signed the approval for the expansion of the southeast Jerusalem neighborhood.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Tuesday that Israel rejected any American attempts to force a halt to building in Gilo, or any other Jerusalem neighborhood, whether Jewish or Arab. "Israeli law does not discriminate between Jews and Arabs or between East and West. Demanding that we stop building just for Jews is illegal in the United States as well, and in every other enlightened place in the world.

"I do not believe that the U.S. government would demand a domestic building freeze on the basis of race, religion, or gender, and attempting to demand this in Jerusalem is an unacceptable double standard, The Jerusalem Municipality will continue to enable construction in every part of the city for Jews and Arabs alike." Barkat said.