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      Netanyahu Draws the Line: We Build in Jerusalem as in Tel Aviv

      Fighting words from Prime Minister Netanyahu to the US: “Building in Jerusalem will continue just like it does in Tel Aviv,” he told the Cabinet.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 3/21/2010, 12:06 PM / Last Update: 3/21/2010, 12:17 PM

      Flash 90

      Israel will make it clear to the Obama administration that “there is no difference between building in Jerusalem and building in Tel Aviv," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at in his opening remarks to the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday morning. “Our policy on Jerusalem is the same as in the past 42 years.'”

      His remarks are in sharp contrast to the Obama administration’s stand that does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem that was restored to the Jewish State in the 1967 Six-Day War. Congress has stated in legislation that it recognizes a “united Jerusalem."

      However, the Prime Minister also said that he wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ”In the coming talks, every side can bring up issues in which there are disagreements,” meaning the “core issues” of the status of Jerusalem and the Arab world’s demand that Israel allow the immigration of millions of Arabs claiming that Israel is home by ancestry.

      The Prime Minister said his letter also stated, “The solution of the basic problems are between us and the Palestinian Authority and can be solved only though direct peace negotiations.”

      Israel previously has refused to discuss the core issues until agreement is reached on other issues, such as continued incitement by the PA and the ongoing terrorist attacks. Agreeing that each side can bring up any subject it wants apparently is one of the concessions from Israel that Secretary Clinton has demanded. However, the Prime Minister’s statement serves as a warning to the Obama administration that Israel will not accept a dictated agreement.

      Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to Washington, told American media on Saturday that an American effort to force an agreement on the PA and Israel would be like "forcing somebody to fall in love.”