Netanyahu: Jerusalem is ours
Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on Thursday that all of Jerusalem will always remain under Israeli sovereignty, despite Palestinian demands for control over part of the city.
Netanyahu was speaking at a ceremony marking 42 years since Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. He did not refer to Palestinian claims to east Jerusalem as the capital of the state they want to establish. The Israeli prime minister has refused to endorse the creation of a Palestinian state despite US pressure.
"United Jerusalem is Israel's capital," said Netanyahu. "Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided."
President Barack Obama pushed Netanyahu to commit to establishing a Palestinian state when the two met in Washington on Monday and also to halt West Bank settlement activity. Israeli security forces demolished a minor Jewish settlement outpost in the West Bank on Thursday. But within hours, defiant settlers began rebuilding.
Before the 1967 war, Jordan controlled east Jerusalem, while Israel had the western section. A barbed wire barrier and wall separated the two sides. Shortly after the war, Israel annexed east Jerusalem. It did not annex other territories, like the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Previous Israeli governments have indicated willingness to cede Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinians in the framework of peace. Netanyahu, who took office on March 31, has always rejected giving up control of any part of Jerusalem.