Israel calls UN criticism of settlement building ‘absurd’

Since July 1, Israeli has advanced plans for more than 1,000 housing units in annexed east Jerusalem and 735 units in the occupied West Bank, UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov saidPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office on Tuesday called criticism of Israeli settlement building "absurd" after a UN envoy strongly hit out at his government over the issue. "The claim that it is illegal for Jews to build in Jerusalem is as absurd as saying Americans can't build in Washington or the French can't build in Paris," Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes said in a statement. Nickolay Mladenov, the UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the Security Council on Monday that Israeli settlement expansion has surged in the two months since a key report called for a halt.


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