Amid already tense U.S.-Israeli relations following Israel's decision to build a 1,600-unit project in Ramat Shlomo, another housing project in East Jerusalem has been given the green light. The project is funded by a U.S. businessman, and some have speculated that the announcement was purposely timed to stress relations between the U.S. and Israel, though Israeli officials deny any political undercurrents. The project cleared initial approval last July, before the most recent row about new building in East Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he was unaware of the latest settlement project, as well as the project in Ramat Shlomo, and a White House spokesperson said the U.S. has asked for "clarification" from Israel about the project.
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