Israel okays new East Jerusalem building plan: report

19:59, October 15, 2010      

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved tenders for building some 238 new Jewish housing units in East Jerusalem, Israeli media reported Friday.

The new houses are slated to be built in the neighborhoods of Pisgat Ze'ev and Ramot, which are in the northeastern Jerusalem and beyond the Green Line, according to local daily Ha'aretz.

It is the first construction tender in East Jerusalem approved by Israeli authority since March, when the announcement of building 1,600 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem angered visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Israeli media reported that the government de facto halted its authorization on East Jerusalem construction plans after Biden's visit under pressure from Washington.

Israel, capturing the Arab-dominated eastern section of the holy city in 1967, and later annexing it without international recognition, claims that Jerusalem is its "indivisible" capital.

The international community, however, does not recognize the legitimacy of the settlements in the West Bank and of the Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim to be the capital of their future state.

The latest East Jerusalem building plan was reported as the re- launched Israeli-Palestinian direct peace talks came into a stalemate after Israel's 10-month moratorium on construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank expired on Sept. 26.

Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has made clear that it will enter the parley only if the Israeli government freezes its construction in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

Source: Xinhua


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