(photo credit: AP)
The United States, United Nations, Russia and European Union condemned Israel on Friday for approving 1,600 new homes in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as their future capital.
A statement from the so-called Quartet of Mideast peacemakers reaffirmed that unilateral action by the Israelis or Palestinians "cannot prejudge the outcome of (peace) negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community."
"The Quartet will take full stock of the situation at its meeting in Moscow on March 19," the statement said.
"The Quartet condemns Israel's decision to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem," the statement said. "The Quartet has agreed to closely monitor developments in Jerusalem and to keep under consideration additional steps that may be required to address the situation on the ground."
Israel's announcement this week of more east Jerusalem construction
angered visiting U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden and the Palestinians.
Only days earlier, the Palestinians agreed to begin indirect peace
talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, despite
their demand for a full settlement freeze before talks begin having
been only partly met. Netanyahu has agreed only to a 10-month
moratorium on housing starts in the territories that does not include
east Jerusalem, which Israel sees as part of its capital.
Quartet called "on all concerned to support the urgent resumption of
dialogue between the parties and to promote an atmosphere that is
conducive to successful negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues
of the conflict."
The group reiterated that Arab-Israeli peace
"and the establishment of an independent, contiguous and viable state
of Palestine is in the fundamental interests of the parties, of all
states in the region, and of the international community."