Building in East Jerusalem neighborhood not to start in years: Israeli PM's office

20:09, May 10, 2010      

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said on Monday that the building in the Jewish neighborhood Ramat Shlomo in Jerusalem will not start in years.

"The construction in that neighborhood would not start until years from now," Mark Regev, spokesman for Netanyahu's office, told Xinhua.

Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighborhood across the Green Line into East Jerusalem, came into the spotlight after Israeli Interior Ministry approved a 1,600 apartments building project there in March following announcement that Israel and the Palestinians agreed to join the U.S.-brokered indirect peace talks.

However, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said earlier Monday that construction in the city will continue, despite a U.S. statement that Israel promised there will be no construction at the Ramat Shlomo project for two years, according to Israeli local service Ynet.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on Sunday the first round of Israeli-Palestinian direct talks brokered by U. S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell ended, warning both sides against taking significant actions that undermine trust.

Settlement has long been a highly controversial issue in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

the Palestinians insist that there can be no talks until Israel implements a full freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank and halts all building projects in East Jerusalem, an Arab- dominated section of the holy city that the Palestinians claim to be the capital of their future state.

On May 1, the Arab League endorsed the proximity talks while warned that the Palestinians would withdraw "immediately" if Israel carried out any kind of construction in the settlements.



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