Tags: netanyahu | jerusalem

Netanyahu: No Restrictions on Jerusalem, Natural Growth

Monday, 25 May 2009 10:29 AM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Israel’s governing cabinet Sunday that he made it clear to the Obama administration that he will not stop construction in Jerusalem or building to accommodate natural growth in settlements.

Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, was not included in various understandings regarding settlement construction that were reached over the years between the US and Israel, according to a report in The Jerusalem Post.

He did stress, however, that the government would remove so-called “illegal” outposts built without government permits.

"Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, and we do not accept limits on construction or on our activity inside Israel," Netanyahu told the cabinet, according to the Post.

The U.S. State Department seemed to agree with that stance in response to a question posed to it last week regarding Netanyahu's stance that all of Jerusalem will remain under Israeli sovereignty.

"Jerusalem is a final-status issue. Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resolve its status during negotiations. We will support their efforts to reach agreements on all final-status issues," the State Department said, according to the Post.

The US and Israel have over the years reached numerous oral understandings regarding where and how construction could take place in the settlements. These understandings are expected to be discussed in detail in the coming weeks between the new Israeli and US governments.

Netanyahu made clear in the cabinet meeting, however, that in his mind it did not mean stopping building to accommodate natural growth.

"We can't accept the idea that families will not bring children into the world, or that children will have to move away from their parents," the prime minister said.

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