The suggestion that Israeli construction plans for the E1 area of Jerusalem preclude the eventual emergence of a Palestinian state is "simply false," Prime Minister Netanyahu asserted on Monday.

Netanyahu's comments came in the wake of widespread international condemnation of preliminary plans to build 3,000 new housing units in the corridor connecting Jerusalem with Ma'aleh Adumim.

Netanyahu reiterated that for four years his government has called for direct negotiations with the Palestinians; however, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has refused.

Additionally, he said, the PA had piled up numerous preconditions to prospective talks, including a construction moratorium in settlements, Israel's acceptance of the 1967 borders as a baseline for talks and the release of Palestinians jailed in Israel. He also named as obstacles to peace the PA's unwillingness to recognize Israel as the Jewish state or agree to end conflict.

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