It is complex to follow the manoeverings over what is happening in East Jerusalem now, however there appears to be a de facto hold to building or progress on plans, even though this is officially denied.
While Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was clear that he has ongoing plans for the development of a unified Jerusalem, Isabel Kershner quotes Mark Regev as saying that prime minister Netanyahu wants to ensure that he would never again be surprised by an East Jerusalem housing announcement. The new mechanism was intended to improve oversight and coordination, Mr. Regev said, “so that the lower levels of government will not take steps that have an impact on national security and foreign relations.”
There is no doubt that any new building announcements in the current climate would provide fodder for those eager to criticise the Israeli government, and to blame it for failure to progress on a number of fronts, including Iran. Nevertheless, for those who haven’t recently been to Jerusalem to appreciate how much it is one city e.g. going up to Hebrew U on Mount Scopus, Yaacov Lozowick provides an excellent overview. He begins with the telling comment “Jerusalem cannot be divided without havoc and bloodletting.”
Mortimer Zuckerman provides a cogent analysis of the negative effect of the Obama policy changes on the political climate between the Israelis and Palestinians.