Jerusalem panel approves four-storey settler building after postponing vote on others: NGO

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A Jerusalem municipal panel approved on Wednesday construction of a four-storey building for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem after postponing a vote on permits for hundreds of other homes in the Israeli-annexed area, an NGO said.

Ir Amim, which opposes Israeli settlement in occupied territory where Palestinians seek to establish a state, said the structure would be erected on a vacant plot in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood where settlers have been expanding an enclave.

“Today, while attention has been focused on the removal of ... building permits ... the committee proceeded to approve a controversial project in one of the most flammable neighborhoods in East Jerusalem,” Ir Amim said in a statement shortly before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was to make a policy speech on Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Ori Lewis; editing by John Stonestreet