MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods would always remain a part of Israel.
"Jerusalem is not a settlement. The neighborhoods that Jews live and that we build in have been standing for nearly 50 years, in the hands of all Israeli governments. Everyone knows that in any peace deal they will remain part of Israel," Netanyahu was quoted by Harretz as saying at a meeting with Federica Mogherini, the EU high representative for foreign affairs.
"Jerusalem is a very sensitive topic and I refer to it with sensitivity. But this is our capital," the Israeli prime minister stressed.
Netanyahu also emphasized that it is not settlement construction that is the root of Arab-Israeli conflict, but "the refusal to recognize Israel with any border."
Jerusalem is the territory fiercely disputed by Palestine and Israel. The Palestinians seek the creation of their capital in Jerusalem, categorically opposing construction of housing units for Jewish families there. The international community views Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as illegal. These settlements are the major stumbling block in the Israel-Palestine peace process.
In late October Netanyahu recommended advancing plans for the construction of around 1,000 housing units for Jewish families in East Jerusalem. On November 3 the Interior Ministry confirmed the construction of 500 new units for Jewish families in Ramat Shlomo, northeastern Jerusalem. Mogherini condemned the move as undermining the peace process.