Israel to US: We Won't Halt Housing in Jerusalem

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2009 4:56 PM CDT
Palestinians walk next to the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem, where the housing project is planned.   (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
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(Newser) – Amid intense US-Israeli negotiations over settlements, Israel today brushed off Washington’s request to stop an American millionaire's housing project in East Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Post reports. Palestinians have complained that it would change demographics in the Arab-dominated area. But Obama "had crossed a red line" in asking Israel to cease building in Jerusalem, said sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Florida bingo mogul Irwin Moskowitz plans to tear down a historic hotel for the housing project, the AP reports. But the international community does not recognize Israel’s annexation of the area, and the dispute threatens to further damage US-Israeli talks on Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories. "The negotiations are intense," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "They are ongoing,"