Netanyahu says East Jerusalem settlements not up for discussion 14Sep09 September 15, 2009

Ma’an  -  14 September 2009

HAr HOma

Settlement construction in East Jerusalem will “go on as planned,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Knesset members in a meeting Monday, as the Israeli leadership continues to negotiatie with the United States on a settlement freeze.

US President Barack Obama requested a complete settlement freeze in the West Bank including East Jerusalem according to Roadmap prescriptions. Additionally, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that only a complete halt to settlement construction in the Palestinian territories is enough to bring him back to the negotiating table. East Jerusalem is within in Palestinian territory according to the 1967 armistice line. The 1967 borders are what most believe will be used to determine the outlines of a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu displayed defiance to pressure from US Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell who is currently in Israsel, reporting that, “We were asked not to build at all. We made it clear that we would build some 2,500 units which are already underway, and several days ago we approved 450 additional units.”

Mitchell is currently meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders with the hope of putting together tripartite talks in New York City later this month.

With respect to finalizing the terms of possible peace talks the Prime Minister said, “We have yet to schedule a meeting with Abu Mazen (Abbas), and the settlement construction issue has not been finalized yet.”


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