Jordan rejects Israeli offer of partial settlement freeze

Amman, Nov 27 (DPA) The Jordanian government Thursday rejected Israel’s latest offer to temporarily freeze settlement activity in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, which Israel seized from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war.

“The unilateral Israeli plan for partial cessation of settlement activity in the occupied West Bank is an insufficient step, which fails to meet the world community’s requirements for the two-state vision,” Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday announced a 10-month moratorium of settlement construction in the West Bank with certain exceptions, but said the building of settlements would continue in East Jerusalem, which the United Nations still considers an occupied territory.

The Israeli step was intended to lure Palestinians to return to the negotiating table with the eventual aim of creating what Netanyahu called a “demilitarized Palestinian state.”

“The exclusion of East Jerusalem from the freeze of settlement activity is rejected by Jordan because it runs counter to the international consensus that considers East Jerusalem an occupied city which should be drawn on the agenda of the final status tlks,” Judeh said.

He said that any settlement for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should lead to the creation of a “sovereign Palestinian state” with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Jordan concluded a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 under which the Jewish state recognized Amman’s right to look after all Islamic and Christian holy shrines in East Jerusalem.