Mubarak tells Netanyahu to stop illegal settlements 14Sep09 September 15, 2009

Egyptian President tells hardline Israeli PM to stop ‘dangerous’ attempts to judaise Jerusalem.

Middle East Online  -  14 September 2009

Mubarak Netanyahu
CAIRO – Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak called on Israel to halt “all settlement activity” and warned of the dangers it posed in occupied Jerusalem, in talks with hardline Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Cairo on Sunday.

Mubarak “called on Israel to stop all settlement activity, including ‘natural growth’ settlements,” presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad said amid renewed US-driven efforts to kick-start the stalled Middle East peace process.

The president “also urged (Israel) to stop attempts to judaise Jerusalem, warning of the dangerous consequences to peace efforts and highlighting the sensitivity of the Jerusalem issue to the Arab and Islamic worlds,” Awad said.

Netanyahu met Mubarak over “iftar,” the meal ending the dawn-to-dusk fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that was also attended by Egypt’s intelligence supremo Omar Suleiman, before returning to occupied Jerusalem.

His brief visit came amid a renewed diplomatic push for peace as US Middle East envoy George Mitchell visited Israel.

Mubarak “called for negotiations on the final borders of a Palestinian state which would pave the way for an agreement on all final status issues, within a defined time frame,” Awad said.

Both sides remain deeply divided on the most sensitive issues of their decades-old conflict — final borders, the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees and illegal Jewish settlements.

Egypt and the United States hope to see a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, suspended since the Israeli destruction of the Gaza Strip at the turn of the year.

Washington has sought to fast-track a peace process that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Earlier this month, Netanyahu authorised the construction of 455 new homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Washington criticised the move as “inconsistent” with the peace process, but has also said it does not consider a settlement freeze a condition for revived peace talks.

Egypt has been Israel’s main Arab interlocutor since the two signed a peace treaty in 1979, but they remain at odds over the peace process.

All Jewish settlements are illegal under international law because they are built on Arab land (mainly Palestinian), illegally occupied by Israel.

Around illegal 200,000 Jewish settlers are estimated to have moved into the dozen or so Israeli settlements in Palestinian East Jerusalem.

There are about 300,000 more illegal Jewish settlers currently living in settlements the Palestinian West Bank.

The settlers adhere to radical ideologies and are extremely violent to almost-defenceless Palestinians.

Under international law, neither East nor West Jerusalem is considered Israel’s capital. Tel Aviv is recognised as Israel’s capital, pending a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.

East Jerusalem is considered by the international community to be illegally occupied by Israel, in contravention of several binding UN Security Council Resolutions.

In these resolutions, the United Nations Security Council has also called for no measures to be taken to change the status of Jerusalem until a final settlement is reached between the sides.

Declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is an attempt to change this status, and is thus a violation of these Security Council resolutions.


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