A project to build 20 Jewish homes in a prestigious part of mainly Arab East Jerusalem is creating fresh friction between Israel and the United States.
Israel says the State Department summoned its ambassador to Washington and told him the plans should be suspended. But there is no question of that for Benjamin Netanyahu, who is already at loggerheads with the US over Israel’s settlement activity. According to the Israeli leader: “There is no restriction on Arabs buying in the west of the city and there is no restriction on Jews buying or building apartments in the east of the city. This is the policy of an open city, an undivided city with no separation regarding religion or national belonging.” Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 War and went on to annex the area in a move not recognized by the international community. Palestinians want the east of the city as the capital of a future state and strongly oppose all settlement construction there.