Israel FM insists no settlement freeze in Jerusalem



JERUSALEM- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated on Tuesday that there would be no halt to construction in east Jerusalem despite international demands for a complete settlement freeze.
"We cannot freeze construction in Jerusalem, neither in the east nor the west, neither for Arabs nor for Jews, because it would jeopardise our sovereignty as a state in our own capital," he told public radio.



The former Hotel Shepherd in east Jerusalem which is to be replaced Israeli apartments.
The former Hotel Shepherd in east Jerusalem which is to be replaced Israeli apartments.
Israel seized mostly Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it shortly thereafter in a move not recognised by the international community or the Palestinians, who consider it the capital of their promised state.
Lieberman, the tough-talking head of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, said international demands that Israel withdraw from the entire West Bank, including east Jerusalem, were unrealistic.
"The international community wants us to go back to the lines of June 1967, which would not end the conflict but move it closer to Tel Aviv," he said.
The United States has been struggling for months to relaunch peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians suspended after the launch of the Gaza war in December 2008.
The Palestinians have refused to hold negotiations, direct or indirect, with Israel without a complete settlement freeze, including in east Jerusalem.
Israel in November imposed a 10-month halt to new settlement construction, but the move was rejected by the Palestinians as insufficient because it left out east Jerusalem, public buildings and projects already under way.
In March the Palestinians, with Arab backing, reluctantly agreed to indirect US-brokered talks for a period of four months, but those plans collapsed days later when Israel said during a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden that it would build 1,600 new settler homes in east Jerusalem.
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Tuesday, April 6th 2010
AFP
           


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