Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Egypt FM condemns Israeli settlement plan

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr looks on during a meeting with
European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton at the Egyptian Foreign
Ministry in Cairo on Sept. 12, 2011. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
CAIRO (Reuters) -- Egypt on Tuesday condemned an Israeli decision to construct 1,100 Jewish settlers homes in East Jerusalem and called the move a "provocation".

"This step reflects an Israeli choice to continue in its provocative policies and to challenge everyone in the international community that sees settlement construction as illegitimate," Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said in a statement.

President Mahmoud Abbas applied at the United Nations on Friday for full Palestinian membership, a move opposed by Israel and the United States, which urged him to resume peace negotiations. Abbas says he will not do so unless Israel agrees to stop building new settlements in occupied territory.

On Tuesday an Israeli ministry approved the expansion of illegal settlement Gilo, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated in an interview that he would not renew a settlement freeze, following a 10-month partial cessation that ended last September, nixing negotiation efforts.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and illegally annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community. All settlements built on occupied territory are illegal under international law.

Relations between Israel and Egypt have grown more tense since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak, a strategic ally of Israel and its main backer the United States, in February.

Maan News Agency