24 Apr 2010

No halt to Jerusalem housing plans

7:43 am on 24 April 2010

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has again rejected calls by the United States to halt construction of houses in occupied East Jerusalem.

He told Channel 2 TV there would be no freeze in Jerusalem

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell is in the region for separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The BBC reports it is his first visit since a row broke out between Israel and the US over construction plans in East Jerusalem.

However, Mr Netanyahu said he hoped to resolve the differences with Washington, without giving any further details.

Mr Mitchell is expected to begin a round of separate meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials on Friday.

Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967. It annexed the area in 1981.

In March, it was revealed that the government planned to build 1600 apartments in an Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.