The Israeli TV. Channel 2, reported on Monday at night that the U.S. Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, decided to postpone his visit to the Middle East due to tension between Washington and Tel Aviv over settlement construction. Mitchell was scheduled to arrive in the region this week; no new date was set for the tour.
Sources at the office of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that the visit of Mitchell would be fruitless without resolving the current tension between the U.S. and Israel.
State Department spokesman, Philip Crowley, stated Monday that Washington is still waiting for an official response from Netanyahu regarding settlement construction in Jerusalem.
Crowley failed to comment on the statements of Netanyahu in which he said that he will continue the construction and expansion of settlements.
Yet, the Department of State said that Israel is a strategic ally to the United States, and will always be so despite the current crisis.
Meanwhile, European Union’s foreign policy chief, stated Monday that Israel’s decision to construct settlement units in Jerusalem jeopardizes the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians. She made her statement during her visit to the Arab League to Cairo.
During a meeting with the Likud Party on Monday, Netanyahu said that settlement construction will resume in East Jerusalem despite the tension with the White House.
Netanyahu also said that the construction of settlements will also include the West Bank immediately after the freeze on settlement activities, ends in September. The freeze does not include Jerusalem.
He added that Ramat Shlomo settlement neighborhood, and all settlements in Jerusalem, will always remain under Israeli sovereignty even under a permanent peace solution.