Construction in Gilo
Construction in GiloLior Mizrahi/Flash 90

Israel on Friday rejected the international criticism over its planned construction in Jerusalem as “lacking any factual basis”.

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department used unusually harsh language in condemning Israeli plans to build 770 new housing units in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, describing them as “corrosive” to peace.

In response, the Foreign Ministry said, "This week, the UN, the EU and the State Department criticized Israel for the construction plans in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood. They did so despite knowing well that Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood will be part of Israel in any peace agreement that one can think of.”

“The claim that the construction in Gilo undermines the solution of two states for two peoples is lacking any factual basis and diverts attention from the real obstacle to peace - the Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state under any borders,” it added.

It is not unusual for Israeli construction plans in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to be criticized by the international community.

The State Department used particularly harsh language in condemning an announcementearlier this month on construction in Maale Adumim and Jerusalem, which was made following an escalation in terror attacks in Judea and Samaria.

State Department spokesman John Kirby at the time stated the move “would be the latest step in what seems to be a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions, and legalizations of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized Israel over the previous construction announcement as well, saying it “raises legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by continuing statements of some Israeli ministers calling for the annexation of the West Bank.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)