Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his cabinet are facing rapidly mounting opposition as Israel’s allies are making unprecedented threats regarding a government announcement to resume construction in the area known as E1, between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim.
Following the vote in the UN General Assembly to grant non-member observer nation status to the PA (Palestinian Authority), Israel retaliated by announcing it was moving ahead with 3,000 housing units in areas of the capital, areas viewed as “occupied” by the international communi
ty, despite their protests. The areas mentioned include E1, the area that would connect Jerusalem to Maale Adumim, an area that Israel has tried developing over the years, but has always been compelled to halt construction due to the international outcry. Maale Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel praised the government statement to move ahead with the planned housing, but realizes that as in the past, it is unlikely the construction will move ahead. Kashriel who wishes to see his city connected to the French Hill area of the capital has been here before, and to date, the international pressure has prevented moving ahead, despite the well-intended bold statements.
In this current E1 crisis, the United States has expressed opposition, along with UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, as well as the UK, Germany, Sweden, France and others.
Leading the list perhaps is London, which has signaled it may recall its ambassador over the issue, already summoning Israeli Ambassador to London to the Foreign Office, where he heard of Downing Street’s objections to moving ahead in the E1 area.
Jerusalem is not commenting at present, amid the growing international outcry, but it appears all but certain that while construction may take place in some areas, E1 will not be counted among them.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)