Despite opposition from Palestinians and the Israeli government, a U.S. millionaire on Sunday maintained he has the right to build Jewish housing in an Arab neighborhood. But he refused to say if he would.
Miami businessman and bingo parlor owner Irving Moskowitz, in interviews broadcast and published Sunday, declined to confirm or deny reports that he has agreed to postpone the start of the project in east Jerusalem.
Word of yet another Jewish housing project has raised tensions in Jerusalem, where Palestinian officials and the head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency warned that violence would result if the construction went ahead.
Palestinians were skeptical about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assurances he would stop the project, and held a meeting about how to counter any construction.
“We should take decisions to defend our land, including chaining ourselves to bulldozers so that the Israelis will understand that we are not just talking,” said Faisal Husseini, top Palestinian official in Jerusalem.
City officials had given permission Thursday for the 70-home development at Ras al-Amudin, saying they had no legal grounds to reject it. Netanyahu - angry at not being told in advance of the approval - said he would take steps to stop it.
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