RAMALLAH (AFP) - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called on Wednesday for the UN Security Council to urgently debate Israeli settlement building, which has deadlocked peace talks, his spokesman said. Nabil Abu Rudeinah said Abbas had instructed the Palestinian representative to the United Nations to request an urgent session of the Security Council to discuss the issue of widespread settlement in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The decision to approach the United Nations came just days after Israel confirmed it was planning to build more than 1,300 new homes in annexed Arab east Jerusalem. The news prompted a furious reaction from the Palestinians and condemnation from the international community, led by US President Barack Obama. But Israel remained defiant on Wednesday, insisting that construction in the city would never stop. There has never been a freeze on construction in Jerusalem and there never will be such a freeze, cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser told public radio. It is inconceivable that there would be limitations on construction in areas where some 300,000 residents live, he said, referring to around 10 settlement neighbourhoods in the citys eastern sector. Although the building freeze did not apply to east Jerusalem, Netanyahu had quietly held off approving projects there to avoid the political fallout. Construction will continue in Jerusalem just as it continues in Tel Aviv, said Hauser, who is also one of Netanyahus spokesmen. The fact that we are building in Jerusalem has never stood in the way when there has been a real, sincere desire to make peace and reach agreements with Jordan, Egypt or the Palestinians, he added. In Jerusalem, visiting US Senator John Kerry warned that the moment for Middle East peace was in danger of slipping away. The window of opportunity for a comprehensive peace is closing, narrowing is the best way to put it, he told reporters at a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres. This is a moment for statesmanship, it is a moment to try and define the opportunities and move forward rapidly. A poll published in east Jerusalem on Wednesday showed that 62 percent of Palestinians backed the Palestinian position that there should be no resumption of negotiations without a fresh moratorium on settlement building. The poll, conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre, surveyed 1,200 adults from across the West Bank and Gaza Strip in late October, and had a margin of error of three percentage points. Meanwhile, Israeli forces arrested senior Hamas MP Mahmud al-Ramahi at his home in the West Bank city of Ramallah overnight, the movement and Israeli forces said on Wednesday. Ramahi, who is secretary of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the bodys third most senior member, was detained at around 3 am (0100 GMT), Hamas sources in Ramallah told AFP. An army spokeswoman said Ramahi had been detained for being involved in recent Hamas activities. He was taken in for security questioning, she told AFP, adding that Ramahi was one of 11 people arrested by Israeli forces in the West Bank overnight. Omar Abdul Razek, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, told AFP Ramahis arrest appeared to be an attempt by Israel to undermine the reconciliation talks. There is no justification for Ramahis arrest unless Israels aim is to sabotage the reconciliation process, Abdul Razek told AFP.