CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Chief Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israeli plans to continue construction in the Jerusalem area neighborhoods of Givat Zeev and Pisgat Zeev humiliate PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Erekat was referring to Israeli Housing Minister Zeev Boim's announcement to complete 350 apartments in Givat Zeev, a thriving Jewish city just past the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot, along with 750 units in Pisgat Zeev, inside Jerusalem city limits.
"Why do they insist on doing this and humiliating Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's nom de guerre]?" Erekat asked.
Addressing the issue on Israel Radio, the housing minister said construction in Givat Zeev was put on hold nearly eight years ago when the second intifada (armed Palestinian uprising) began.
"When the violence subsided, demand grew again and contractors renewed their permits to build there," Boim told Israel Radio, adding that in any case, Pisgat Zeev "is inside Jerusalem's city limits."
While the PA lays claims to all of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and plans to establish its capital in the eastern half of Jerusalem, Israel maintains that large cities, even those outside the "green line," such as Givat Zeev, will remain a part of Israel in any future settlement with the PA.
As for Jerusalem, when it came back under Israeli sovereignty following the 1967 Six Day War, Israel annexed all its neighborhoods and determined that Jerusalem would remain the eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish state.
"Secret" negotiations between Israel and the PA, led by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia have allegedly put Jerusalem on the chopping block.
Meanwhile, in an effort to keep the ultra-Orthodox Shas party in the coalition, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the re-division of the nation's capital would be among the last of the "core issues" to be decided.
Source: The Associated Press