Israeli PM defends east Jerusalem construction

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister is defending new construction in east Jerusalem that has drawn international condemnation.

Benjamin Netanyahu says the building of a new Israeli enclave in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah is a private project “in accordance with Israeli law.”

In a statement Monday, he says Israel will not “impose a ban on Jews purchasing private property in Jerusalem” and that Arabs can buy or rent property in Jewish neighborhoods.

The construction has drawn criticism from the European Union, the Palestinians and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said Sunday she was “very concerned” about the building.

Clinton said the project “contradicts the logic” of a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians.