Israel has approved construction of four new apartment buildings in east Jerusalem, officials said Tuesday. The project is being developed near a Jewish seminary by Irving Moskowitz, an American Jew who has funded Jewish settlers.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's spokesman, Stephan Miller, confirmed that Jerusalem's local planning committee approved the 24-apartment project on Monday.
On his part, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the move "in the strongest possible terms." According to him, if Israel wants to restart peace negotiations, "they must announce a total cessation of settlement activities" in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
An official in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the decision to build in east Jerusalem is made by municipal authorities and does not require involvement by the prime minister.