JERUSALEM, Feb 7 (Reuters) - The Jerusalem municipality on Monday pushed ahead with plans to build 13 new apartments for Jews in the eastern part of the city, angering Palestinians who want the land as the capital of a future state.
Designs for the two new buildings in the predominantly Arab neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah, which the municipality said are a private endeavour, received preliminary approval by a planning committee but still need a green light from Israel's Interior Ministry.
It will be years before they are actually built. There are many more stages before final approval, said Elisha Peleg, a committee member.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Israel has continued to build such projects because the United States and other Western countries were not exerting enough pressure on it.
Therefore, going to the UN Security Council to obtain our resolution (condemning) settlements has become more pressing, he said.
The United States has said the building of Jewish settlements in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, land Israel captured along with the West Bank in a 1967 war, hinders the peace process.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem its capital, a claim that has not won international recognition.