Photo taken on Jan. 22, 2017 shows construction underway in the settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim near Jerusalem. Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked his security cabinet to postpone a vote on bill to annex Ma'aleh Adumim, a major West Bank settlement, citing a request by the administration "not to make surprise moves but to draft a joint policy." (Xinhua/Gil Cohen Magen)
JERUSALEM, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said he decided to lift restrictions on new construction for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, local media reported.
Officials with the Prime Minister's Office told Israel's Haaretz newspaper that Netanyahu promised members of his security cabinet to cancel all restrictions on Israeli construction in settlement neighborhoods of Jerusalem, which were imposed due to pressure by the Barack Obama administration.
Netanyahu also said he supports an "Israeli sovereignty over Ma'aleh Adumim," the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank. However, he asked the ministers to postpone the vote on a bill to annex the settlement, put forward by the pro-settler Jewish Home party, citing a request by the Donald Trump admiration "not to make surprise moves but to draft a joint policy."
The announcement came after the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee approved 671 new housing units in East Jerusalem on Sunday morning, according to a statement by the municipality spokesperson.
The permits were given to projects in 10 different locations in East Jerusalem, including 324 units in Ramot, 174 units Ramat Shlomo, 68 units Pisgat Ze'ev -- all are Jewish settlement neighborhoods.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said more permits are expected to be issued after "eight difficult years with Obama, who pressured to freeze the construction."
Israel seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast War, along with the rest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It later annexed East Jerusalem and declared it as part of its "eternal" capital, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.