Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday fired back at the Obama Administration over its harsh criticism of new Jewish construction in Jerusalem, insisting that the Jewish state will never stop building in its own capital.
Speaking at a meeting of fellow Likud lawmakers, Netanyahu stated, "Building in Jerusalem and in all other places will continue in the same way that has been accepted in the last 42 years."
He emphasized that the new building project in the northeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo that has been the focus of so much international condemnation is in no way harming the Arabs, as the neighborhood has been an established Jewish residential area for decades.
Netanyahu was reportedly bolstered by the fact that his entire cabinet, including those form the left-wing Labor Party, have been shocked by the American behavior.
Asked by another Likud MK if the current tension with the US would mean an extension of the Jewish building freeze in the rest of Judea and Samaria, Netanyahu said he offered a 10-month freeze as a gesture to US President Barack Obama and the Palestinians, and that the timetable is firm.
If relations between Jerusalem and Washington continue to deteriorate, the expiration of the Jewish settlement freeze in September could be the tipping point that brings Israel and the US government into direct and open conflict.