Arafat: Housing plan violates peace process
Israel denies deal linked to Palestinian acceptance
In this story:
February 27, 1997
Web posted at: 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 GMT)
NABLUS, West Bank (CNN) -- Palestinian Authority President
Yasser Arafat on Thursday criticized Israel's decision to
build housing for Jews in Arab east Jerusalem, saying it was
a violation of Israeli-Palestinian peace moves.
"This is a big breaching to what had been agreed upon and
it is against the United Nations resolutions and also against
the American letter of guarantees and against all the
agreements that had been signed," Arafat told reporters upon
arriving in Nablus from Gaza for a visit.
Israel enraged Palestinians on Wednesday when the government
approved the first stage of plans to build 6,500 housing
units on Jabal Abu Ghneim, known by Israelis as Har Homa, in
east Jerusalem on land captured by Israel along with the West
Bank in the 1967 Middle East war.
Palestinians view the neighborhood, which completes a ring of
Jewish apartment blocks around Jerusalem, as an attempt to
block the possibility of east Jerusalem becoming the capital
of a future Palestinian state.
Also Thursday, the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported
that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to
withdraw from 10 percent of the West Bank, a much larger area
than expected, if Arafat's self-rule government quietly
accepted construction of the Jewish housing development.
Israel denies deal
However, David Bar-Ilan, senior adviser to Netanyahu, told
CNN there is no deal with Arafat to increase the Israeli
redeployment from the West Bank.
Bar-Ilan said the exact percentage of the pullout will be
determined in a meeting next week. He says it will be higher
than previously expected but insists the increase and exact
percentage will have nothing to do with the Har Homa
settlements in east Jerusalem.
Palestinian Justice Minister Freih Abu Medeen also denied
the report. "I do not believe that any Palestinian
would indulge in such an operation," he said.
Under a 1993 peace deal that launched limited Palestinian
self-rule in parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel
agreed to discuss the future of Jerusalem during talks on a
permanent peace settlement. The talks, which began last year,
are due to resume next month.
Israel handed over most of the West Bank town of Hebron in
January and agreed to carry out three stages of further
redeployments by mid-1998.
- Related sites and stories -
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.