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Israel rejects Obama's call for building halt in East Jerusalem

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Sebastian Scheiner/AP

(Read caption) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, Sunday. He rejected a call by US President Barack Obama to halt new construction in East Jerusalem, his aides confirmed Thursday.

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A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a call by US President Barack Obama to halt new construction in East Jerusalem, his aides confirmed Thursday. The rejection, which was delivered privately over the weekend, appeared likely to further complicate American efforts to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

Both sides lay claim to the holy city, and Israel does not consider building there to be a settlement activity.The international community does not view East Jerusalem as legally Israel's.

Israel's announcement last month of a plan to construct 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem – which Israel seized from Jordan in the 1967 war – ruffled visiting US Vice President Joe Biden and threw planned peace talks off track. Obama’s Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, was set to touch down in Israel later today to try to reanimate them, The Associated Press reports.

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