Monday, December 28, 2009

Israel to build 700 apartments in east Jerusalem; US slams and opposes plan

Israel announced Monday it is building nearly 700 new apartments for Jews in east Jerusalem, where Palestinians hope to set up the capital of a future state. The U.S., Palestinians and the European Union condemned the plan, a fresh setback to American efforts to restart Mideast peace talks.

"Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally pre-empt, or appear to pre-empt, negotiations," said the White House press secretary Gibbs. "Rather, both parties should return to negotiations without preconditions as soon as possible."

The press secretary added that the status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved by the parties through negotiations and supported by the international community.

"We believe that through good faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem, and safeguards its status for people around the world," he said.