UPDATED: Israel Erects More Illegal Units in Jerusalem
27 Apr 09 | PTV
Israel begins the construction of new settlements inside the Palestinian territories in defiance of preconditions for resuming peace talks in the region.
“The works aim to build 60 housing units for Orthodox religious Jewish families right next to the Palestinian neighborhood of Arab al-Sawahra,” the anti-settlement Peace Now spokeswoman, Hagit Ofran, told AFP on Monday.
The construction which was approved in 2000 “began two months ago as part of development of East Talpiot,” she added.
The area is one of a dozen illegal settlements that Israel has built in East Jerusalem (al-Quds). Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War, declaring the city its “eternal, undivided capital.”
More than 285,000 Israelis currently live in the Jewish settlements which are considered as illegal by the international community.
“They aim to complete a belt of Jewish neighborhoods that will surround east Jerusalem and we are against this project, which is harming the hopes for peace,” said Ofran.
Mahmoud Abbas says Palestinians will not be pressured into resuming talks with Israel as long as the construction of Israeli settlements continues.
“For sure, we won’t submit to pressures. No, we won’t accept. Regarding the peace talks, this is our position, even if someone, if anyone in the world, says you’re wrong,” acting Palestinian Authority chief said on Monday.
Abbas also pointed out that he will not recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state, as demanded by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
“A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean? You can call yourselves as you like, but I don’t accept it and I say so publicly,” Abbas remarked.
“Name yourself, it’s not my business,” he said. “All I know is that there is the state of Israel, in the borders of 1967, not one centimeter more, not one centimeter less. Anything else, I don’t accept.”
Tel Aviv could resist any return of non-Jewish Palestinian refugees once Palestinians recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish state’.
He said the issue was “extensively discussed” during the November 2007 international conference in Annapolis, Ynet reported.
Abbas further reiterated that a complete halt in the construction of settlements is a prerequisite for resuming talks.
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