Discussion on new Jerusalem construction halted

Discussion on new Jerusalem construction halted

JERUSALEM — All discussions over new construction in Jerusalem have been frozen, according to reports.

Meetings of the Interior Ministry’s Regional Planning and Building Committee have been postponed until a management committee to coordinate among government ministries on the construction has been established, the Interior Ministry said in a statement,.

The statement followed the approval Tuesday for 20 new Jewish homes on the site of the Shepherd Hotel in eastern Jerusalem. The approval came just hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama at the White House.

The Shepherd Hotel, located in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, was purchased in 1985 by Irving Moskowitz, a Jewish-American billionaire, for $1 million.

The Jerusalem Municipality, in a statement released Wednesday, pointed out that the plan for the Shepherd Hotel site was approved in July 2009, at which time it received a great deal of media attention. The approval, however, was contingent on the payment of certain fees, which were paid on March 15, at which time the local planning council’s approval became final. Construction can begin immediately.