News / Middle East

World Leaders Condemn Israel's East Jerusalem Plan

A construction site in Gilo, a Jewish settlement that Israel erected on land it captured in the West Bank in the 1967 war, September 27, 2011.
A construction site in Gilo, a Jewish settlement that Israel erected on land it captured in the West Bank in the 1967 war, September 27, 2011.

U.S., European and Palestinian leaders have condemned Israel's plan to construct 1,100 new housing units in east Jerusalem, a move that could raise already heightened tensions after last week's Palestinian bid to seek United Nations membership.

World Leaders Condemn Israel's East Jerusalem Plan
World Leaders Condemn Israel's East Jerusalem Plan

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday called Israel's decision "counter-productive" to reviving stalled Mideast peace talks. She said both sides should avoid provocative actions that undermine trust, particularly in Jerusalem.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Israel's decision to move ahead with new settlement construction in the city's contested Gilo neighborhood "threatens the viability" of a two-state solution and "should be reversed."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague noted that settlement expansion is "illegal under international law, corrodes trust and undermines the basic principle of land for peace."

An Israeli district committee approved the plan for settlement construction in Gilo on Tuesday. The Israeli Interior Ministry said construction could begin after a mandatory 60-day public comment period - during which objections could be a raised - a process it called a formality.

Palestinians oppose Israeli building on land they want as part of a future state. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel's decision amounts to "1,100 no's to the resumption of peace talks."

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down last year after an Israeli freeze on West Bank settlement construction expired.

The impasse in talks prompted Palestinians to seek U.N. statehood recognition last week. The U.N. Security Council is set to formally consider the Palestinians' request for statehood and full U.N. membership on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has described Israel's decision to move forward with settlement building as "counter-productive." State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the move would not help efforts to restart direct negotiations.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton criticized Israel's latest housing expansion, saying the settlement plan "threatens the viability" of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

The EU is part of the group known as the Middle East Quartet. The group, which also includes the U.S., U.N. and Russia, has proposed a resumption in talks between the two sides.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would not renew a construction freeze in order to get Palestinians to agree to the Quartet's plan for new talks. He told the Jerusalem Post that Palestinian insistence on the settlement issue shows a lack of interest in negotiations.

On Sunday, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told supporters in Ramallah that he would resume peace talks only if Israel stopped building settlements in occupied territory.

The Quartet's plan calls for a preliminary meeting between Israel and the Palestinians within a month. The meeting would be followed by a return to regular talks and progress on security and borders within 90 days. It envisions the completion of a peace deal no later than the end of 2012.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid