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Russia says concerned by Israel’s plans to build housing in E Jerusalem

November 16, 2011, 20:13 UTC+3

Russia is concerned by Israel’s plans to build housing in East Jerusalem

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MOSCOW, November 16 (Itar-Tass) — Russia is concerned by Israel’s plans to build housing in East Jerusalem as a punishment to Palestine for an appeal to the UN for getting membership of the UN and UNESCO, Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Israeli government has made public its plans to hold bidding contests for the construction of new apartment blocks in the Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. More specifically, it said some 749 houses will be built in Har Homa and another 65 houses, in Pisgat Ze’ev.

“This move is passed off as a measure standing in line with the Israeli government’s instruction to punish the Palestinians for their request to get UN and UNESCO membership,” the Foreign Ministry said in a report.

The announced specification of the Israeli government plans in the sphere of Jewish settlements cannot but cause a deep concern, the report said.

“Russia has more than once voiced its opinion on the situation,” it said. “Any construction projects on the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, contravene the commonly accepted norms of international law and should be suspended.”

“Moscow cannot accept the logic of ‘punishments to the Palestinians’, including a buildup of Jewish settlements, for their attempts to get membership of the UN or its specialized agencies in line with the adopted procedures,” the ministry said.

“An approach of this kind and statements, to say nothing of concrete actions, undermine the efforts of the international quartet of negotiators /Russia, the UN, the EU, and the U.S. – Itar-Tass/ towards a resetting of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the internationally recognized legal grounds,” it said.

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