Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat on Saturday night slammed the European Union's condemnation of plans to build 797 housing units in Gilo, a Jerusalem suburb located across the Green Line.

"Gilo is an inseparable part of Jerusalem and we are not going to apologize for that," Barkat said. "We will continue to build tens of thousands of apartments across the entire city for all sectors.The only way to lower the price of apartments is to continue building without stopping as we are now in order to allow young people to live in Jerusalem and build themselves a future."

A municipal planning committee on Thursday issued a call for bids from contractors to start building the housing units on the western slopes of Gilo, one of the five ring neighborhoods in Jerusalem that were developed immediately after the 1967 Six Day War, including Ramot, Ramat Shlomo, and Pisgat Zeev.

In response, EU foreign policy chief Catherione Ashton released a statement expressing "deep regret" over the decision. She described settlements as "illegal under international law," and said they "threaten to make a two-state solution impossible."

The Jerusalem municipality does not differentiate between these neighborhoods and western Jerusalem for any municipality services or statistics.

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