of new housing for Jews in east Jerusalem will press forward, Cabinet
Secretary Zvi Hauser illustrated in a statement on Monday. This drew
Palestinian accusations that the plans could undermine newly relaunched
"Building is expected to begin soon in Har Homa ...
and Neve Yaakov, where (construction) bids have been issued," Hauser
told Army Radio, referring to two east Jerusalem neighborhoods.
"Building in Jerusalem is continuing according to its regular pace."
Despite Hauser's claim, Israeli construction in east Jerusalem has been held back, though not halted, since the dispute over Ramat Shlomo erupted in March. Israel has not approved any new housing plans, but construction on hundreds of apartments that were previously approved has proceeded.
Nonetheless, Palestinians said the project violated the terms of the new
peace talks, in which Israel has promised not to take any provocative
actions. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would address his
concerns with the Americans.
"The Americans said some words to us, and they said some words to the
Israelis, and now it's up to the US administration to answer such
things," Abbas told reporters.
PA approves proximity talks
'No R. Shlomo construction for 2 yrs'
Erekat: Building complicates talks
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Israeli position
undermined trust-building as the US tries to get the indirect
negotiations, or proximity talks, moving.
"The whole concept of proximity talks is to give Senator George Mitchell
and US President Barack Obama the chance they deserve," Erekat said.
"If they begin doing this (building), I think they will take down the
proximity talks."Meridor: Israel won't accept 'discriminatory' policy
Israeli Cabinet Minister Dan Meridor said Israel could not accept a
"discriminatory" policy that barred Jews from living in certain parts of
the city. But he said "the policy of the government will try to be
Meridor said any future arrangement in Jerusalem would guarantee free
access for all religions to worship. But he added: "To take the Old City
and cut it to pieces I think is not only not right but not realistic."