Jerusalem approves Arab housing units

Dec. 28, 2009 at 8:06 AM
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Israel has approved the construction of 500 housing units in Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood for both Arab and Jewish residents, officials said.

Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias said Monday that units have been authorized after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat gave his approval for the building in an effort to address a housing shortage in the capital, Ynetnews.com reported.

Palestinians have accused Jerusalem officials of not allowing them to build in the city while approving hundreds of new Jewish housing units in outlying neighborhoods such as Neve Yaakov, Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev. Ynetnews.com said only two of the new Silwan units have been reserved by Jewish residents living in the area.

Atias told reporters the government is addressing housing shortages and high real estate prices by authorizing large waves of new projects. He said 6,500 housing units have been approved in 54 Israeli towns.

Citing political sources, Ynetnews.com said Israel has notified the United States it plans to construct 692 apartments in areas beyond Jerusalem's Green Line, which is likely to produce a confrontation with international critics.

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