Planning and Housing Committee member Hanan Rubin. said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested the vote be removed from the agenda to avoid further straining relations with the Obama administration ahead of Kerry’s speech, Reuters reported. Netanyahu’s office had no immediate comment.
“The prime minister said that while he supports construction in Jerusalem, we don’t have to inflame the situation any further,” Rubin said, according to Reuters.
The committee could approve the construction permits at a later date.
Kerry will outline a vision for an Israel-Palestine peace agreement and “address some of the misleading critiques” directed at the Obama administration in his speech Wednesday, the New York Times reported.
It comes after the Obama administration broke with long-standing U.S. tradition last week and abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements on land claimed by Palestinians for an independent state.
Gilad Erdan, the Israeli public security minister, told Israel Army Radio that Kerry’s planned speech is a “pathetic move” and “anti-democratic,” the Associated Press reported.
Erdan said any proposals by Kerry for an Israel-Palestine peace deal will limit President-elect Donald Trump’s ability to set his own policy. He said officials from the Obama administration are “pro-Palestinian” and “don’t understand what’s happening in the Middle East,” according to the AP.