Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel will never limit its construction activity in Jerusalem and claimed that the construction of Jewish neighbourhood in east Jerusalem did not comprise settlements.
Following a meeting with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is on visit to the region, Lieberman said Israel will “not accept any limitation on building in Jewish areas of east Jerusalem”, Xinhua reported citing the statement.
“We cannot accept the definition of building in the Jewish neighbourhood as settlements, that should be clear,” Lieberman said.
Israeli authorities have recently given approval to hundreds of housing units to be built in Jewish neighbourhood in east Jerusalem, to the ire of the international community and the Palestinians.
Steinmeier said, “it’s important both sides (Israel and the Palestinians) will not engage in moves that may thwart the peace process,” adding that “there’s no chance of reaching a calm without a process that would bring sustainable peace.”
Israel captured east Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed the area, home to more than 300,000 Palestinians, with many in the international community not officially recognising it.
Whereas Israeli officials say Jerusalem is Israel’s “eternal and undivided” capital, the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state and they, along with many in the international community, view Jewish construction and relocation to these neighbourhood as settlement activity.