U.S. urges Israel to adopt confidence-building measures: report

21:37, March 15, 2010      

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The United States has urged Israeli government to make confidence-building measures over their bilateral relations and the Middle East peace process, including cancelling an East Jerusalem building project, Israeli media reported on Monday.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put forward the requirements during her phone call on Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reported the daily Ha'aretz.

Over the weekend, U.S. has shown vividly its anger over the announcement by an Israeli Interior Ministry committee of a 1,600 apartments construction project in Jewish neighborhood Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem.

Two aides to U.S. President Barack Obama, following Clinton, launched their criticism against Israel's announcement on Sunday.

Israeli newspapers and radios reported that Israel's ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has labelled the current situation as the worst crisis between the two allies in the past 35 years.

The confidence-building measures that Clinton put on table for Netanyahu include: to investigate the scenario of the announcement of the Ramat Shlomo building project, over which Netanyahu has ordered the formation of an investigation committee, and to reverse the decision on the project, reported the leading Israeli daily.

The regrets that Netanyahu has expressed over the recent diplomatic feud with Washington only focus on the timing of the announcement of the building project. So far there has been no Israeli attempt to say that the building work will not go ahead if and when final planning permission is obtained.

Israel has not made any comments to suggest it will stop further construction work in East Jerusalem, which Israel claims as part of their "indivisible capital" and Palestinians deem as capital of their future state.

The top U.S. diplomat also urged Netanyahu to make more good- willing measures on the Israeli- Palestinian peace talks, such as releasing Palestinians currently held in Israeli prison, transferring more areas to Palestinian control, and easing Israel' s siege over the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. further hopes the Jewish state could declare the peace talks, indirect or direct, to include all core issues in the peace process, according to the report.

Source: Xinhua
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