Netanyahu ‘Baffled’ By Obama’s Settlement Criticism

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was "baffled" by President Obama's assertion that if Israel goes forward with new settlements in East Jerusalem, it risks condemnation from its closest ally, the United States.

"I was baffled by this statement, because it doesn't reflect American values," Netanyahu told CBS's Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation. "What we're being criticized for is that some Jewish residents of Jerusalem bought apartments legally from Arabs in a predominantly Arab neighborhood, and this is seen as a terrible thing."

After criticism from the Obama administration surfaced following the president's meeting with Netanyahu on Wednesday, Netanyahu said people should have "all the information" before making such statements.

"Arabs in East Jerusalem, Palestinians, buy apartments, thousands of them, in the Jewish neighborhoods in West Jerusalem," Netanyahu said. "Nobody says ‘you can't do it.' If I said to you, in some place in the United States, ‘Jews cannot buy apartments here,' there would be an uproar. I don't accept this thing."

When Schieffer asked about a "larger group of settlements" in East Jerusalem, Netanyahu pushed back on the ‘settlement' classification and called efforts to condemn mixed housing projects an "affront to peace."

"I think actually this whole line that says that ‘Jews can't buy apartments in Jerusalem,' the capital of the Jewish people for the last 3,000 years since King David, or ‘you cannot have mixed housing projects for Jews and Arabs,' I think this is anti-peace," Netanyahu said. "I think condemning it is wrong. And I'm frankly baffled, I think it's not the American way."