Netanyahu vows more settlements in Jerusalem
U.S. pressures Israel to approve new peace pactNovember 7, 1998
Web posted at: 10:37 p.m. EST (0337 GMT)
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A defiant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Saturday to continue building new Jewish settlements in Jerusalem -- including at a controversial site in a traditionally Arab section of the city that Israelis call Har Homa.
"We will build also in Har Homa as we will build in every part of Jerusalem," Netanyahu said to a crowd of political supporters in Jerusalem. "By 2000 there will be homes at Har Homa."
His remarks could be seen as a provocation at a sensitive time. Groundbreaking on Jewish settlements in that part of east Jerusalem in 1997 led to angry Palestinian protests and a breakdown in the Middle East peace process.
On Saturday, Israel's Channel Two television reported that U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is putting pressure on Netanyahu to ratify the peace accord reached last month at Wye, Maryland.
Netanyahu's Cabinet delayed approval after Friday's suicide bombing at a Jerusalem market, insisting that the Palestinians first follow through on promises to crack down on Islamic extremists.
Channel Two reported that Albright told Netanyahu by phone that she expects his Cabinet to ratify the new peace accord within a few days, despite the market bombing.
On Saturday, a leaflet issued in the name of the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the car-bomb attack at the Mahane Yehuda market that killed two bombers and injured 21 Israelis.
"This heroic attack, which was not the first and will not be the last, was carried out by our Islamic Jihad movement at this difficult time to confront the great conspiracy that aims to liquidate the Palestinian cause through the Oslo and Wye Plantation agreements," said the leaflet faxed to Reuters in Jerusalem.
However, it was not clear where the leaflet originated or if it was authentic. While an Islamic Jihad spokesman in Gaza, Nafez Azzam, said the group had "no information" about the bombing, Radio Monte Carlo quoted a Damascus-based Jihad leader, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, as confirming that his group was behind the attack.
Palestinian security forces stepped up anti-terrorism efforts after the attack, arresting several members of Islamic Jihad on Friday night. They also raided and shut down the Islamic Purity Nursery, a kindergarten in Bethlehem.
"They remind me of the Israelis," said nursery director Itaf Alayan. "They should allow us to live our lives, or they will be the ones pushing us to carry out suicide attacks."
Alayan, who staged a hunger strike while in an Israeli jail last year, said she was close to Islamic Jihad but said the group had no connection to the school.
Saturday, the father of one of the two bombers -- identified as Yusef Ali Mohammed Zughayar and Suleiman Musa Dahayneh, both in their early 20s -- condemned his son's role.
"It's known that my son is affiliated with the Islamic Jihad. He was imprisoned twice, the last time for three and a half years," said Zughayar's father, Mohammed.
"We never thought he would do something like this. We condemn such acts, but the only thing we can do now is to say may he rest in peace," he said.
The families of Zughayar and Dahayneh erected mourning tents Saturday in a village near Jenin and in the Palestinian village of Anata, which straddles east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Family members said the men were brothers-in-law who were known as Islamic Jihad activists. They said Dahayneh's leg had been amputated after he was shot by Israeli forces during the 1987-1993 Palestinian uprising and that Israeli forces had killed his brother.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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