UK slams 'provocative' J'lem building plans

Britain joins France in saying Israel's approval of construction projects in Gilo, Silwan "counter-productive" to peace efforts.

Construction 521 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Construction 521
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Britain on Friday joined France in condemning Israeli plans to build additional structures and housing units in areas of Jerusalem over the 1967 Green Line.
Jerusalem’s Local Planning and Building Committee passed the first stage of the approval process for three controversial construction projects on Wednesday. One project is for 130 Jewish housing units on the border between Gilo and Beit Safafa, with apartment buildings up to 12 stories. Two of the projects are for tourism buildings in the City of David archaeological park in the Silwan neighborhood.
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"I condemn the decision by the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee to build additional structures in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, and housing in the settlement of Gilo," Britain's Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt stated on Friday.
"This is another provocative and deeply counter-productive step, the latest in a series by the Israeli authorities," he added.
Burt's condemnation followed a statement by the French Foreign Ministry on Thursday urging Israel to forgo the construction plans "in order to establish between the parties a climate of trust that is conducive to the resumption of direct negotiations."
Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.