Print | Comments () Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor December 28, 2009 12:41 PM
The White House lodged its objection today to Israel's announcement that it plans to build nearly 700 new apartments in east Jerusalem.
"The United States opposes new Israeli construction in East Jerusalem. The status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved by the parties through negotiations and supported by the international community," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
"Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally pre-empt, or appear to pre-empt, negotiations. Rather, both parties should return to negotiations without preconditions as soon as possible. The United States recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue for Israelis and Palestinians, and for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. We believe that through good faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem, and safeguards its status for people around the world."
Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, strongly denounced the move. Israel, however, considers east Jerusalem as its traditional capital. It is home to Jewish, Muslim, and Christian holy sites.
The issue of expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank has also been a point of contention between the US and Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a slowdown in West Bank settlement construction several weeks ago, but the order did not cover east Jerusalem,
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