Housing Construction in East Jerusalem (Taken Question)
Question: Has the United States raised the issue of continued issuance of new housing permits for East Jerusalem with the Israeli Government? Was the issuance of 900 additional permits raised during Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s recent Washington visit?
Answer: The United States is deeply concerned by continuing Israeli actions with respect to housing construction in Jerusalem. We have raised this issue with the Israeli government and continue to make our position known. As we have said before, unilateral actions work against efforts to resume direct negotiations and contradict the logic of a reasonable and necessary agreement between the parties. We believe that through good faith direct negotiations, the parties should agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem, and safeguards its unique religious status for people around the world. We will continue to press ahead with the parties to resolve the core issues in the context of a peace agreement.