Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a sharp response Sunday to United States pressure to stop Jews from building in parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority. Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem is “not up for debate,” Netanyahu said, and Jews are permitted to build in any part of the capital city, as are Arabs.
Netanyahu implied that the U.S. request was racist, saying before the weekly Cabinet meeting, “Imagine what would happen if Jews were forbidden to live or to buy apartments in certain parts of London, New York, Paris or Rome. There would be an international outcry."
"All the more, we cannot to a decree like this regarding Jerusalem,” he said.
Over the weekend, the U.S. State Department summoned Israeli envoy Michael Oren and demanded that Israel halt construction of Jewish homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, near the ancient grave of Shimon HaTzaddik (Simon the Just). The property on which the homes are to be built has been owned by Jewish activist Dr. Irving Moskowitz for more than 20 years.
Oren told U.S. officials that Israel would not agree to stop building in the area.
Israel annexed Sheikh Jarrah and other Jerusalem neighborhoods following the Six Day War, in which the city was reunified after 19 years of Jordanian rule in the eastern half of the city. While Israel has maintained sovereignty in the capital city for more than 40 years, the Palestinian Authority continues to demand all areas controlled by Jordan in the 1950s.
The United States, along with most of the world, has refused to recognize Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem in deference to the PA. The American embassy is located in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, and American citizens born in Jerusalem may not list “Israel” as their country of birth on their American documents.
Israeli Muslim Children told Jerusalem Occupied, Raise Millions for Al Aksa
While Israeli leaders proclaim Jerusalem to be the unified capital of Israel, Israeli Muslim leaders teach their children that Jerusalem is rightfully Arab and Muslim. On Saturday, the Islamic Movement bussed thousands of Israeli Arab Muslim children to the Al Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount, where they heard speeches referring to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem as areas “occupied” by Israel.
"We must remove the occupying forces from the mosque, and from all of Jerusalem,” said Sheikh Khamel Khatib, a senior Islamic Movement leader.
The children brought money which they had gathered throughout the year on behalf of the Islamic Movement. Donations came to roughly 3 million shekels, which Islamic Movement leaders said would be used for the Al Aksa Mosque and Islamic Movement institutions.