The Israeli government vowed on Monday that settlement construction and expansion in and around occupied East Jerusalem will be accelerated, but did not present a time frame.In an interview with the Israeli Army Radio, secretary-general of the Israeli government, Tzvi Howers, did not provide clear answers regarding a timing for resuming the constructions, but stated “I believe it will happen soon, time will determine that”.
Howers added that the construction in Jerusalem is ongoing in its normal pace, and did not mention the “freeze” on settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.
Nir Hefez, spokesperson of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Israeli Radio that the timing of resuming settlement constructions in East Jerusalem will be declared in a manner “that does not cause any diplomatic crisis”.
Netanyahu stated that Israel will not construct in Ramat Shlomo settlement for two years. The settlement is built on West Bank lands in East Jerusalem, and was annexed to Israel after the 1967 war.
U.S Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, stated that Netanyahu vowed not to conduct any constructions in Ramat Shlomo, and added that he received guarantees from Israel, the Palestinians and the United States regarding refraining from unilateral activities.
Mitchell added that proximity talks will be confidential, away from the media, and that through talks, a two state solution will be reached.