4 Dec 2012

Israel rejects calls to reconsider settlement decision

4:28 pm on 4 December 2012

Israel has rejected international pressure to reconsider its plan to build thousands of settler homes in occupied Palestinian territory.

Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden summoned Israeli ambassadors in protest at the plans and the United States called on Israel to "reconsider" its decision.

A White House spokesperson, Jay Carney, says the move is counterproductive to peace efforts with the Palestinians.

However, an official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Israel would continue to stand by its vital interests and would not change its decision, the BBC reports.

Palestinians say the proposed new settlements would cut any future Palestinian state in half.

Israel authorised the 3000 additional housing units a day after the United Nations voted to upgrade the Palestinians to the status of a non-member observer state.

Israel angrily condemned the Palestinian move as a "gross violation" of previous agreements.