Israel rejects criticism of east Jerusalem settlements
Jerusalem: Israel on Tuesday rejected calls from
the United States, the European Union and Russia to freeze settlements in annexed Arab east Jerusalem.
"Israel acts and will act in line with its national
interests and in particular for anything affecting Jerusalem.
Our rights in Jerusalem, including its development, cannot be
challenged," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in a
Eli Yishai, interior minister and deputy prime minister,
said: "Israel is not a subsidiary of any other country in the
world. The government and the state of Israel have the right
to build anywhere in Israel when such projects have obtained
all legal approvals."
Earlier today, the European Union and Russia warned
Israel not to violate Middle East peace plans by expanding
settlements in east Jerusalem.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy also repeated "the need
for a complete freeze" of settlement activity after talks with
Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, while Israel's ambassador to
Paris was summoned by the foreign ministry.
The warnings come after it emerged that planning
authorities had given the green light to a project to build 20
new apartments on the site of a former hotel in the Arab
sector of the Holy City.