Israeli sources reported Tuesday that the United States demanded Israel to halt the construction in Gilo settlement, built on Palestinian lands in between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Israel considers Gilo as a city in the greater Jerusalem area, and is currently acting on expanding it.
The office of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was surprised to receive an American request to halt the construction in Gilo.
Israeli paper Yedioth Ahartonoth reported that U.S Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, raised the issue during a meeting with Yitzhak Molcho, advisor to Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin, Netanyahu.
According to the paper, Mitchell told Molcho that the United States was informed that the Jerusalem Municipality approved construction plans in Gilo, an issue that could obstruct or even foil the efforts to resume peace talks with the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the office of Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Gilo is part of Jerusalem, and that there is no difference between building in Jerusalem or in Tel Aviv.