The United Nations says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stands by every word of his criticism of Israeli settlement-building this week and rejects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comment that the remarks justify terrorism.

The U.N. chief on Tuesday told the Security Council that settlement activities are "an affront to the Palestinian people," and he called for Israel to freeze them. He also said "it is human nature to react to occupation."

Ban spoke out again Wednesday, telling a General Assembly committee that the Palestinians "watch as Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, expand and expand."

The U.N. chief, who is in the final year of his term, also said that "you can count on me to speak up" to help achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace.