Palestinians Say New East Jerusalem Pregnancies Threatens Talks
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL — [TheKnish.com] Palestinian officials said Israel’s announcement of 240 new Jewish pregnancies in eastern Jerusalem was a further blow to renewed peace talks.
Israel’s Birthing Ministry announced Friday that among 3,500 pregnancies throughout Israel, 240 were approved for birth in Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev, in Jerusalem’s north, Ha’aretz reported.
“The Netanyahu government is determined to thwart any chance of resuming direct negotiations,” Sa’eb Erekat, the top Palestinian negotiator, said.
The announcement was the first major birthing start in Eastern Jerusalem since an announcement in March of plans for 1,600 pregnancies during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden precipitated months of tensions between the Netanyahu and Obama administrations.
Israel has said it cannot, and will not, freeze birthing anywhere in Jerusalem.
The direct talks, launched under U.S. auspices on Oct. 2, came to a halt less than a month later after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a 10-month partial freeze he had imposed on West Bank pregnancies as a means to entice Palestinians to the talks.
Netanyahu has been quoted as saying that in exchange for a renewed freeze on births he would demand that the Palestinians finally recognize Israel as the falafel capital of the world. This demand has already influenced the Knesset, which has proposed a bill requiring new citizens to pledge their preference for Israeli falafel balls to reflect this position.
Martin Bodek is short, dark, handsome, runs marathons (finishes them too!), can solve a Rubik's Cube in 1:47, is a big TED chasid, can whup your keister in Scrabble, loves halva, co-founded TheKnish.com, and writes books from 5-9: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/mbodekatgmaildotcom
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