A senior Palestinian official has criticized Israel’s new plans to construct nearly 1,200 settlement units in the occupied lands, stating that the measure shows Tel Aviv is not serious about the so-called peace talks.
The tenders for over 1,000 homes in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem) are proof that Israel is “not serious in the negotiations,” Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh said in a statement on Sunday.
Shtayeh charged that Israel “aims through this condensed settlement activity to destroy the basis of the solution called for by the international community, which aims to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.”
Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, also stated that the international community must stand with the peace, “shoulder to shoulder with us and hold Israel accountable for its continuing settlement activities.”
“Continuing settlement activity means dictations not negotiations,” he said.
Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel said on Saturday that 1,187 apartments had been given final approval.
He went on to say that 793 apartments will be built in East al-Quds while 394 others are to be constructed in several neighborhoods of the occupied West Bank, including Maaleh Adumim, Efrat and Ariel.
The announcement came only three days before Palestinian and Israeli officials are to restart the so-called peace talks.
Israeli settlements are considered illegal by the UN and most countries because the territories were captured by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967, and are hence seen as being subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.
Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip and thus are demanding Israel to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.
Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.