UK minister condemns latest Israeli settlement project 18Jan11 January 19, 2011

Ma’an News Agency -  18 January 2011

The UK’s Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt, touring the region for the first time as minister, called the latest plans to build 1,400 new Jewish-only homes in occupied Jerusalem “deeply unhelpful.”

In a statement, the minister said that the UK has “always been clear that settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace. Pushing ahead with this plan would be a deeply unhelpful move and hinder efforts to resume talks between the two parties leading to a two-state solution to this conflict, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two states living side by side in peace and security.”

The comment comes as Arab delegations to the United Nations prepare to table a draft resolution asking the world body to condemn Israeli settlement building in occupied areas.

On Monday, the Israeli municipal office in Jerusalem approved the building of another 122 Israeli settler homes in in the city.

Elisha Peleg, head of the conservative Likud group on the city council, said the council’s planning and construction committee had given the green light for construction of 90 housing units in Talpiot East and another 32 in Pisgat Zeev.

“It’s no big deal,” he said. “It’s routine construction, we’re always building in Jerusalem neighborhoods … does anyone know where the [dividing] line was? It’s not Berlin where they had a wall.”


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