PM Netanyahu. World angered by move
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Pisgat Ze'ev. New homes
Photo: AFP

France to Israel: Reconsider Jerusalem construction

Paris joins Washington in expression of 'deep disappointment' over decision to issue bids for 240 housing units in neighborhoods located beyond Green Line, says move harms opportunity to revive peace talks. Russia slams building plan as well

France on Saturday joined the United States in an expression of "deep disappointment' over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to approve bids for 240 new housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Pisgat Ze'ev and Ramot, which are located beyond the Green Line.


French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said Paris expected Jerusalem to reconsider the move. According to the French statement, the decision harms the opportunity to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and France is "deeply disappointed" by it.


Valero stressed that the foreign ministers of both France and Spain expected Israel to halt construction in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem. "France calls on the Israeli government to reconsider the decision," he added.


Russia urged Israel to reconsider its decision as well. According to the Russian news agency, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov wrote on his website, "The Israeli government's plans are perceived with an extreme concern and disappointment in Moscow.


"They contradict international efforts aimed at the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. We consider it important that the sides avoid unilateral actions which may affect the fate of settlements."


US Rep. Ackerman: Jerusalem not a settlement

The US expressed its concern over the decision on Friday. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters in Washington, “We were disappointed by the announcement of new tenders in east Jerusalem yesterday. It is contrary to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties.”


However, US Representative Gary Ackerman, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, issued a statement supporting the Israeli construction in Jerusalem. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is not a settlement. As such, the resumption of construction in Jerusalem is not a justification for a crisis, a showdown, a meltdown or even a hissy fit," he said.


Earlier Friday, Jordan strongly condemned what it referred to as the "resumption of Israeli construction in the occupied Palestinian territories, including east Jerusalem."


The Petra news agency quoted Information Minister Ali Ayed as saying that Israel is harming the efforts to put the peace negotiations back on track.


The Jordanian minister called on the international community to work towards ensuring the success of negotiations and "stop all Israeli provocations," which he said are aimed at "changing facts on the ground."


Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat inveighed against Israel's approval of hundreds of new Jewish homes in east Jerusalem, accusing the government of "bearing full responsibility for the collapse of direct peace negotiations".


During a meeting with diplomats, Erekat demanded that the US and EU increase pressure on Israel and deem the state responsible for the collapse of peace talks.


The new construction "proves the Israelis have chosen the path of the settlements and not of negotiations, and this will lead to a dead end", he said.



פרסום ראשון: 10.16.10, 17:06
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