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No Limits to Building in East Jerusalem - Israeli PM

RIA Novosti

21:11 21/10/2012 TEL AVIV, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Israeli government will not limit construction in disputed areas of Jerusalem, despite protests from Palestinians and the disapproval of the international community, Israel's Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

The issue of settlement building was in the spotlight again after Israel announced earlier this week construction of 800 homes for Jewish families in East Jerusalem, which was criticised from abroad including Russia and the European Union.

"We are not putting any limitations on building in Jerusalem, it is our capital," Netanyahu said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting. "The same way that [states] build in every capital - London, Paris, Washington, Moscow - Israel builds in Jerusalem," he added. "Our bond to our capital is no less ancient and powerful."

Israel has declared Jerusalem, including the eastern sector of the city it has occupied since 1967 and later annexed, as its "united and undivided" capital. The Palestinians claim their right to create a capital in the city for their state, and the international community recognizes East Jerusalem as occupied territory, along with the West Bank of the Jordan River.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Peace talks between the two sides were suspended two years ago after the Palestians walked out over Israel's refusal to suspend settlement construction.

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