Ma'an News Agency
November 17, 2009 - 1:00am

US Special Envoy George Mitchell called on Israel to stop construction in the Israeli settlement of Gilo, in east Jerusalem, according to Israeli media on Tuesday.

The demand was made during a meeting on Monday between George Mitchell and Yitzhak Molcho, an Israeli official with the country's envoy to Washington, concerning plans to build a new residential complex in Gilo that are currently awaiting authorization from Jerusalem municipality officials, according to the Israeli daily Ynet.

The article further reported that Molcho refused Mitchell’s request which elicited a response from the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Bureau stating that, “the neighborhood of Gilo is an integral part of Jerusalem, just as the neighborhoods Ramat Eshkol, Rehavia, French Hill and Pisgat Zeev are part of the united city, and there is no difference between construction in those neighborhoods in Jerusalem and construction in Tel Aviv and Haifa. Issuing construction permits in those cities does not require the prime minister’s approval.”

The areas named are all on lands taken by Israel during the 1967 war, internationally recognized as Palestinian lands under Israeli occupation. According to the Road Map plan and the Arab Peace Initiative, a two-state solution would see a Palestinian state established on lands occupied in 1967, including the areas of Jerusalem Netanyahu calls part of the "unified city."


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