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Netanyahu Rejects U.S. Criticism of Settlement Expansion as 'Unacceptable'

A plan for the construction of new housing units in Ma'ale Adumim and East Jerusalem spark criticism from U.S., UN.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Wednesday afternoon to American criticism regarding the construction of 800 housing units in Ma'ale Adumim and Jerusalem, saying, "We are familiar with the American's position. It's not new and it's unacceptable for us. Construction in Jerusalem and construction in Ma'ale Adumim, with all due respect, is not what distances peace."
Netanyahu made the comments from Rwanda where he met with President Paul Kagame. "What prevents peace is first and foremost the persistent incitement against the existence of the State of Israel and it's about time that all the nations of the world recognize this simple reality. And there's another truth: The way to solve conflicts is through negotiations.
"We are always ready to conduct direct negotiations without preconditions with our neighbors, but they aren't prepared to do the same. These are the two things preventing peace and not a few more apartments near the municipality of Ma'ale Adumim or a few neighborhoods in Jerusalem," said Netanyahu.
At the beginning of the week, the prime minister and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman approved a plan for 800 new units to be built over the green line: 560 of them in Ma'ale Adumim and 240 in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot, Gilo and Har Homa. Simultaneously, the two approved the construction of 600 units for Palestinians in Givat HaMatos in East Jerusalem.
The U.S. voiced criticism over the plans on Wednesday, when a State Department spokesperson said, "If it's true, this report would be the latest step in what seems to be a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions, and legalizations of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also criticized the decision, with a UN spokesperson saying that he is "deeply disappointed. This raises legitimate questions about Israel's long-term intentions, which are compounded by continuing statements of some Israeli ministers calling for the annexation of the West Bank."

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.729385
Schermata 2016 07 06 alle 22.11.51

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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