(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli officials are defending plans for 1,400 new apartments in the settlement of Gilo, part of disputed East Jerusalem which Israel seized from Jordan during the Six-Day War in 1967. Palestinians reacted with outrage to the plan, which could scuttle the rocky U.S.-sponsored peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the site of their future capital and say Israel would be in violation of international law in building the apartments. But Jerusalem Councilman Elisha Peleg told Voice of America that Israel has every right to do what it wants in that part of the city.
"The Jews have the right to build in all parts of Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem," he said.
Some Israeli politicians disagree. The left wing Peace Now movement's Hagit Ofran told VOA that Israel would destroy the peace process through such moves. The Palestinians refuse to return to the negotiations until Israel halts all construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The apartment plan could be approved as soon as next week.
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