Sunday, July 19, 2009

Netanyahy says he's surprised by US demands but promises "I will not cave in" .

(Haaretz,Channel 2).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he had been "surprised" by a recent U.S. demand that Israel halt a construction project in a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. "I was surprised by the U.S. move," the premier told his advisors. "In my conversation with [U.S. President Barack] Obama in Washington, I told him that I could not accept any limitations on our sovereignty in Jerusalem. I told him Jerusalem is not a settlement, and it has nothing to do with discussions on a freeze."

Netanyahu's comments came after both Israel Radio and Army Radio reported that the U.S. State Department summoned Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren over the weekend to advise him that the project, developed by American millionaire Irving Moskowitz, should not go ahead. As of Sunday evening, the bureau has not received a response from U.S. officials to the report. "I won't cave in on this matter," Netanyahu pledged Sunday during consultations at his bureau.

The prime minister added: "During my previous tenure I built thousands of housing units in the [East] Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, and I went against the world. Therefore, it is clear that in the present situation I will not cave in, all the more so since this is a matter of 20 housing units only."