"Jerusalem is not a
settlement, it is the capitol of Israel," the office of Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday in a sharp retort to international
criticism about plans for 1,345 homes in Jewish neighborhoods of
The government never agreed to place any
restrictions on construction in Jerusalem, which has 800,000 residents,
the prime minister's office said in a statement it issued while Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in New York.
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much of the international community equates construction in east
Jerusalem with that of West Bank settlements, Israel makes a sharp
distinction between the two.
From November 2009 to September 2010 Israel halted new settlement
construction in the West Bank, but during that time it continued to
issue new tenders for building in east Jerusalem, which it considers
part of its united capital.
"Israel does not see any connection
between the peace process and the policy of planning and construction in
Jerusalem, which has not changed in 40 years. For the last 40 years
every Israeli government built in every part of the city. During that
period peace agreements were signed with Egypt and Jordan and for 17
years direct negotiations were held with the Palestinians. These are
historical facts. Construction in Jerusalem has never interfered with
the peace process," the office said.
For the last 40 years Israel
and the US have disagreed over the status of east Jerusalem, said the
prime minister's office, which added that it hoped to over come these
differences and to stay focused on the peace process.
that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was hopeful that his meeting
Thursday with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton would advance the
Earlier on Tuesday US President Barack Obama criticized Israel at a news conference in Indonesia and said "this kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations."
JPost.com staff contributed to this report.