Jerusalem: A spokesman says Israel's interior minister has given final authorisation to build 1,600 apartments in disputed east Jerusalem, and will approve 2,700 more in the next few days.
Ministry spokesman Roi Lachmanovich said on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office knew the construction plans were moving ahead.
Israeli construction in east Jerusalem riles the Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as a future capital. It will also likely hurt Washington's efforts to dissuade the Palestinians from seeking statehood at the United Nations next month.
The 1,600 apartments had caused a diplomatic rift between Israel and the US last year when they won an earlier approval from the ministry during a visit to Israel by US Vice President Joe Biden.
First Published: Thursday, August 11, 2011, 14:00