U.S. Condemns Israeli Plan for New Construction beyond Green
EU, Palestinians also denounce Israel's plan for 1,100
new homes in Jerusalem's contested Gilo neighborhood.
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Nir Hasson and The Associated Press
September 27, 2011
The U.S. condemned Tuesday Israel's plan to build 1,100 new
housing units in Jerusalem's contested Gilo neighborhood,
which lies beyond the Green Line.
"We are deeply disappointed by this morning's announcement by
the government of Israel approving the construction of 1,100
housing units in East Jerusalem," State Department
spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
Construction in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood.
"We consider this counterproductive to our efforts to resume
direct negotiations between the parties," Nuland said. "And
we have long urged both parties to avoid actions which could
undermine trust, including in Jerusalem, and will continue to
work with the parties to try to resume direct negotiations."
The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
also expressed disappointment with Israel's new plan to build
homes in Gilo, saying they "should be reversed" since it
undermines peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Ashton told the EU parliament that she heard "with deep
regret" that Israeli plans to build homes beyond the Green
Line were continuing.
Speaking in Strasbourg, France, Ashton said the expansion of
settlements "threatens the viability of an agreed two-state
solution" between the two sides, as backed by the EU, the
United States, Russia and the United Nations.
The Palestinians also condemned Israel's construction plans
"The Israeli Prime Minister claims to have no preconditions,
but with this decision is putting concrete preconditions on
the ground," the Palestinian Prime Minister's Office said in
"[Netanyahu] says there should be no unilateral steps, but
there could be nothing more unilateral than a huge new round
of settlement building on Palestinian land. The Israeli Prime
Minister told the UN that he had come to tell the truth, but
it is this decision which tells the truth."
In New York on Monday, a divided UN Security Council met
behind closed doors for its first discussion of last week's
Palestinian application for full UN membership as a state.
The move seems certain to fail due to Israeli and U.S.
opposition, despite substantial support by other governments.
A spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said
it was up to the Security Council to put a stop to Israel's
settlement policy "which is destroying the two-state
solution and putting more obstacles in front of any effort
to bring about a resumption of negotiations".
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