Jerusalem: Aides say Israel`s Prime Minister has officially rejected President Barack Obama`s demand that Israel suspend all construction in east Jerusalem.
They say Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his response to Obama over the weekend. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity on Thursday because the contacts between the two leaders were private.
Netanyahu`s position conforms with long-standing Israeli policy but presents a significant obstacle to resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Israel delivered its position ahead of the arrival later Thursday of Obama`s Mideast envoy, George Mitchell.
The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as capital of their future state and see Israeli building there as cementing Israeli claims to that sector of the city.