Israel "firmly rejects" pressure not to build in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday following days of unrest and spreading international condemnation of planned evictions of Palestinians from homes in the city claimed by Jewish settlers.
"We firmly reject the pressure not to build in Jerusalem," Netanyahu said during a televised address ahead of national commemorations of the Israeli capture of East Jerusalem in a 1967 war.
"I say also to the best of our friends: Jerusalem is Israel's capital and just as every nation builds in its capital and builds up its capital, we also have the right to build in Jerusalem and to build up Jerusalem. That is what we have done and that is what we will continue to do," Netanyahu said.
East Jerusalem tensions have spilled over into clashes around Al-Aqsa, Islam's third-holiest mosque.
At least 90 people were injured Saturday as Israeli police fired water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinian protesters in annexed east Jerusalem. On Friday more than 200 people were wounded at the mosque.
The Quartet of envoys from the European Union, Russia, the United States and the United Nations expressed "deep concern" over the violence.
The Al-Aqsa clashes drew sharp rebukes across the Arab and Muslim world.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israel as a "cruel terrorist state". Jordan condemned Israel's "barbaric attack" and Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Pakistan and Qatar were among Muslim countries that blasted Israeli forces for the confrontation.