Jerusalem Mayor: U.S. criticism won't halt construction in city
Barkat: Call to halt Jewish construction only would not be legal anywhere in the world.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat vowed Wednesday that criticism from the United States would not have any impact on construction in the city, Israel Radio reported.
Speaking during a tour of the neighborhood of Gilo, Barkat said that the demand to halt construction in Jerusalem only for Jews would not be legal anywhere in the world.
The White House made clear in a statement Tuesday that it opposes new Israeli construction in East Jerusalem, which is predominantly Arab and tapped by the Palestinians to be the capital of a future state.
"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," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
Gibbs was referring to the plan to build 692 housing units in the Jewish neighborhoods of Neveh Yaakov, Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev in East Jerusalem.
But, according to a senior official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau, "everything was carried out with transparency vis-a-vis the Americans, even if there are disagreements."
Israel announced several weeks ago that it was launching a 10-month suspension of construction in the West Bank, a move that was welcomed by the international community but also criticized as it failed to include East Jerusalem.