A vote on approving permits for the construction of hundreds of homes for Israelis in East Jerusalem was canceled Wednesday, ahead of a speech by Secretary of State John Kerry that will outline the Obama administration’s vision for peace in the Middle East.

A municipal committee in Jerusalem axed plans for a vote on approving permits for the building of nearly 500 homes, the Jerusalem Post reported.

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…. see more

source: usatoday