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In US, Netanyahu says Israel sees no connection between peace process and construction in the capital. ‘All Israeli governments have built in all parts of the city for 40 years, and we still signed peace deals with Egypt, Jordan,’ premier adds.
November 09, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has toughened his stance ahead his scheduled meeting with the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Thursday, rejecting any American and international criticism regarding building in east Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem is not a settlement – Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel. Israel has never restricted itself regarding any kind of building in the city, which is home to some 800,000 people – including during the 10-month construction moratorium in the West Bank,” the PM said Tuesday.
“Israel sees no connection between the peace process and the planning and building policy in Jerusalem, something that hasn’t changed for the past 40 years. All Israeli governments have built in all parts of the city in the past 40 years.
“During this time,” he added, “We have signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and have held negotiations with the Palestinians for 17 years. Construction in Jerusalem has never obstructed the peace process.”
Netanyahu spoke just hours after US President Barack Obama told a press conference in Indonesia that Israeli construction in east Jerusalem “is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.”
The Israeli premier added that “the disagreements between Israel and the US regarding Jerusalem are well-known, and I hope to overcome them and move the peace talks forward. We intend to advance the peace negotiations during Thursday’s meeting with Secretary of State Clinton.”
On Monday, the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee approved the construction of 32 housing units in the eastern part of Pisgat Ze’ev, a neighborhood located beyond the Green Line.
The construction, which has been a bone of contention in the international community, was approved during Netanyahu’s visit to the United States.(*)