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Tuesday June 22, 2010 10:21 AM (EST+7)
US concerned over plan to raze 22 East Jerusalem houses

Read more: White House, Silwan, East Jerusalem, house demolitions, settlers, Israeli policy

RAMALLAH, June 22 (JMCC) - White House spokesman P.J. Crowley expressed concern on Monday over Israel's plan to destroy 22 more houses in East Jerusalem owned by Palestinians.

The comment from the White House came out at a press briefing shortly after Israel's approval.

“This is expressly the kind of step that we think undermines trust that is fundamental in making progress to the proximity talks and ultimately in direct negotiations,” said Crowley. “We’re concerned about it.

It is not clear what steps, if any, the United States is prepared to take in response to the latest Israeli provocation.

The US President, Barack Obama, had guaranteed that he would publicly acknowledge any actions he perceived as undermining the fledgling proximity talks, shortly before they began.

Israel has come under sharp criticism during the last year over its policies in East Jerusalem. Plans to build 1,600 housing units in an outlying Israeli settlement in the occupied territory caused an uproar, as it coincided with a visit from US Vice President Joe Biden.

Silwan, the East Jerusalem neighborhood in question, has also been the site of a growing weekly protest movement against the Israeli policy of uprooting Palestinians and replacing them with Israeli settlers.

Jerusalem's Israeli mayor Nil Barkat has been in the process of developing plans to revamp the East Jerusalem neighborhood, at the expense of its inhabitants, say Palestinian residents.

The development project was shelved in the aftermath of a diplomatic row with the United States, but was put back on the table last week.






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