Israeli PM defends east Jerusalem construction

AP and Ahram Online, Wednesday 2 Nov 2011

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says settlement building is a 'basic right' for Israelis

Israel's prime minister is defending his decision to expand construction in east Jerusalem.

Benjamin Netanyahu says it is Israel's "right" and "duty" to build in all parts of its capital.

Israel captured east Jerusalem along with the West Bank in the 1967 war. Palestinians claim that section of the city as their future capital. 

UN resolution 242 passed after the 1967 war calls on Israel to withdraw from all territories occupied during the military campaign. East Jerusalem had been annexed in the war.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu's office said 2,000 new apartments would be built in Jewish areas of east Jerusalem.

Officials said the move was an Israeli response to recent unilateral steps by the Palestinians, particularly its acceptance in the UN cultural agency UNESCO.

Speaking at parliament Wednesday, Netanyahu pledged to keep building in east Jerusalem. He said this was not punishment, but "the basic right of our people to build in its eternal city."

Short link: