October 22, 2012 - 10:04 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Israel's Prime Minister vowed on Sunday, Oct 21, to continue building in east Jerusalem, despite objections from Palestinians who claim the territory as capital of their hoped-for state, The Associated Press reported.
Benjamin Netanyahu spoke after the European Union's foreign policy chief criticized plans to build 800 new apartments and a military college on contested land, which the international community considers to be under Israeli occupation.
"We are not imposing any restrictions on construction in Jerusalem" Netanyahu told his Cabinet. "It is our capital."
A top aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promptly accused Netanyahu of deliberately destroying prospects for peace.
The Israeli leader's comment "comes in the context of the continuing destruction of the peace process and the two-state solution," Nabil Abu Rdeneh said.
The fate of Jerusalem lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians refuse to negotiate while Israel continues to build settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, areas captured by the Jewish state in 1967.
Netanyahu has rejected the notion of partitioning the city.
Israel says it imposed the blockade to prevent Gaza militants from getting weapons. Gaza militants have fired thousands of rockets and mortar rounds at Israeli border communities and towns over the past decade.
The restrictions on Gaza were loosened after an Israeli raid on a blockade-busting boat in 2009 killed nine Turkish activists, but there are still limits on movement, imports of raw materials, and exports.