Israel on Wednesday approved the construction of 78 new homes in two Jerusalem neighborhoods over the Green Line, likely to aggravate Palestinian anger at a time when violence has flared, including a deadly attack on a synagogue.

Jerusalem’s municipal planning committee authorized 50 new housing units in Har Homa and 28 in Ramot, a municipal spokeswoman said.

Jerusalem has seen unrest in the past few weeks over access to the city’s most sacred and politically sensitive site, holy to both Jews and Muslims. On Tuesday, two Palestinians killed four rabbis and a policeman at a Jerusalem synagogue, the worst attack in the city since 2008.

The Palestinians have also been angered by recent plans Israel has advanced beyond the Green Line.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said of the latest announcement: “These decisions are a continuation of the Israeli government’s policy to cause more tension, push towards further escalation and waste any chance to create an atmosphere for calm.”

Jerusalem Councilman Dr. Meir Margalit (Meretz), who holds the east Jerusalem Portfolio, said the nominal number of approved housing units in the contested areas is inconsequential amid such a significant crisis.

“These numbers are irrelevant,” he said shortly after the announcement. “We have more dramatic problems than these numbers, so I think we can live with them. We have to keep this development in proportion; it’s not so dramatic that we need to make problems. I can live with them.”

Asked why the municipality approved such a scant number of housing permits, Margalit opined that a new strategy may have been adopted by City Hall.

“Maybe now instead of approving a thousand units at once, they’re doing a few at a time every week or two,” he said. “Nobody will pay attention to such small numbers.”

While Margalit said the Israeli government should avoid building in Arab neighborhoods over the 1967 lines, he said that the dignity of Palestinians living in east Jerusalem is far more pressing at this time.

“If I had to find one word to describe the most important issue facing young Palestinians, it is dignity,” he said. “When I talk to the young people of east Jerusalem about what’s behind this uprising, they say they want more dignity.”

Margalit continued: “They feel that Israel offends them day by day and are looking for a more dignified effort toward them.

The councilman said young Arabs who have lashed out in violence feel “humiliated by the Israeli establishment.”

“It’s not just by the police – they feel that everyone in the Israeli establishment humiliates them,” he explained. “Humiliation is the name of the game, and they are at an age where honor and dignity are more important to them. This is a very important factor in their own identity, and the issue of honor, dignity and humiliation are things we never think about in the municipality.”

“We never think about what we can do to make them feel honor and dignity.”

Israel’s recent building plans have drawn criticism from the European Union as well as from the United States.