Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has dismissed a recent White House rebuke of Israeli settlement construction, saying such criticism goes “against American values”.Israel came under fire last week after a Jerusalem city official signed the final go-ahead for construction of a new housing development in east Jerusalem. A day earlier, an ultranationalist Jewish group said dozens of settlers would move into six apartment buildings purchased in the heart of a predominantly Arab neighbourhood.
In a striking public rebuke, the Obama administration warned Israel that the new project would distance Israel from “even its closest allies” and raise questions about its commitment to seeking peace with Palestinians.
In an interview broadcast on Sunday on CBS, Netanyahu said he did not accept restrictions on where Jews could live, and said that Jerusalem’s Arabs and Jews should be able to buy homes wherever they want.
He said he was “baffled” by the American condemnation.
“It’s against the American values. And it doesn’t bode well for peace,” he said. “The idea that we’d have this ethnic purification as a condition for peace, I think it’s anti-peace.”
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