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Israeli settlement construction to continue: PM


17:06, June 11, 2013

JERUSALEM, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday evening that Israel's construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem would continue despite efforts to resume the peace process, Israeli media reported.

"Construction in communities in Judea and Samaria will continue, and is continuing today, but we must be aware of what is happening around us," Netanyahu said.

The statement comes amid a report by Army Radio on Monday morning according to which Israel has halted construction beyond the 1967 line, on lands annexed by Israel in the Mideast War in east Jerusalem.

The report, based on Jerusalem planning officials, was later confirmed by former foreign minister and Netanyahu's alley, Avigdor Lieberman, who called it a "temporary hiatus."

Moreover, Netanyahu stated that Israel's construction in the major settlement blocks does not hinder the resumption of the peace talks and said he would not tolerate any preconditions set out by the Palestinian Authority to resume the peace process.

Netanyahu and other officials declared their willingness to resume talks immediately and accept the two-state solution, while members of his Likud Party like deputy-Defense Minister Danny Danon went against the plan.

Despite claims of Israel's willingness to peace, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Sunday, construction of settler housing in the first quarter of 2013 has risen by 176 percent from the same quarter last year, specifically in the settlement blocks of Beitar Illit and Modi'in Illit.

The data shows that there have been new 865 homes constructed in the West Bank overall in 2013, whereas during the same period in 2012 there were 313 new homes built.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians came to a halt in 2010 over Israel's continuing construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem territories.

Specifically, the issue of Jerusalem is one of the more delicate issues pertaining to the negotiations.

The Israeli government vowed to keep Jerusalem as its undivided capital whereas the Palestinians demand the eastern part of the city would not remain in Israeli hands. There are about 300,000 Palestinians living in east Jerusalem and its vicinity.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiangJun、Yao Chun)

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