The building permits that continue to be issued in East Jerusalem are an expression of the Likud party’s political platform for the upcoming election according to a Likud party official speaking to Israeli daily Maariv. “This is our campaign,” the official said, and “To this point it’s been working wonderfully.” The official added: “It’s not a coincidence that right after the announcement you see ministers sent to explain and clarify it in the media. It’s all carefully planned.”
The disclosure comes as Israel faces heavy criticism from foes and allies alike over its announcement that it has approved 1,500 new housing units in East Jerusalem. The U.S. stopped short of an official condemnation of Israel’s construction plans in the United Nations Security Council, but State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the U.S. is “deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action.”
Meanwhile a poll released Tuesday by the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs shows that 67 percent of Israelis who vote for left-of-center parties oppose splitting Jerusalem and reject any Israeli withdrawal from the city. The poll was conducted during November by the Mina Tzemach’s Dahaf institute.