Netanyahu: Jerusalem is ours, deal with it

Monday, August 24, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as he departed for Europe on Monday that Israel will never accept limitations on its sovereignty in Jerusalem. His remarks were seen as a direct response to pressure from US President Barack Obama for Israel to stop building homes for Jews in those parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians.

Sources close to Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post that is the message he will deliver to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell after touching down in London. From there, Netanyahu will travel to Berlin to convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel of Israel's steadfastness when it comes to the holy city.

Netanyahu is expected, however, to soften that news by offering to halt construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria for a period of one year to determine if Israel truly has any peace partners on the Palestinian side.

The prime minister said he expects his peace gestures and the international community's reaction to them will persuade Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to resume peace talks by October.

Netanyahu will also press his European hosts for greater economic sanctions against Iran over it's defiant nuclear program. Netanyahu said that if Europe and the rest of the international community would sufficiently tighten the screws on Iran, then there would be no need for talk of a last-ditch military option.

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