White House calls for Israel to halt new settlements

The White House called for Israel to halt the construction of new buildings for Jews in East Jerusalem.

White House calls for Israel to halt new settlements

The White House on Monday called for Israel to halt the construction of new buildings for Jews in East Jerusalem.

"The United States opposes new Israeli construction in East Jerusalem," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

Israel announced plans on Monday to build nearly 700 new Jewish homes in areas of the occupied West Bank it considers part of Jerusalem, Reuters said.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli plan, saying new building on territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war was illegal.

Under the new Israeli blueprint, Israel's Housing Ministry invited contractors to bid for the construction of 198 housing units in Pisgat Zeev, 377 homes in Neve Yaakov and 117 dwellings in Har Homa, settlements near Jerusalem.

"The United States opposes new Israeli construction in East Jerusalem," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs responded in a statement.

"Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally preempt, or appear to preempt, negotiations. Rather, both parties should return to negotiations without preconditions as soon as possible," Gibbs said.

Israel captured Al-Quds in the 1967 six-day war and later annexed the city, in a move not recognized by the international community.

The city is home to Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Muslims' first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and the third holiest shrine after Al Ka'bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

Al-Quds is also home to some of the holiest Christian worship places, including the Jerusalem Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.

Israel has been working hard over the past years to Judaize the holy city and change its Islamic identity.

It has been adopting a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out, including systematic demolition of their homes.

Agencies
Last Mod: 29 Aralık 2009, 08:35
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