PA slams Israeli plan to build over 300 homes in W. Bank

Abu Rudaineh says move further pushes Palestinians to pursue UN statehood bid; US official: "Building plan negates very logic of peace."

July 18, 2011 19:26
2 minute read.
Israeli flag over settlements (illustrative).

Israeli flag flutters over settlement of Ofra 311 R. (photo credit: Laszlo Balogh / Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority on Monday strongly condemned Israeli plans to build new homes in West Bank settlements as unacceptable and illegal and said it was now more determined to proceed with its statehood bid in September.

The PA’s condemnation came in response to an announcement by the Construction and Housing Ministry about plans to build 6,900 new housing units in 38 cities around the country.

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Approximately 300 of the new units will be built across the Green Line, mostly in Beitar Illit and Karnei Shomron.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the continued construction in the settlements “prompts us to go to the UN and the Security Council to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state and full membership in the UN.”

Abu Rudaineh said that the decision to build new homes in the settlements in particular and the Israeli government’s policy regarding settlements in general was completely unacceptable “because all the settlements are illegitimate and must be removed.”

He urged the international community to assume responsibility by taking a clear position against the settlement policy, which, he added, harms not only Israeli-Arab peace, but also the entire world peace.

Meanwhile, a US State Department official on Monday also strongly criticized the announcement of the new West Bank housing tenders.

“We believe this kind of activity only reinforces the stalemate between the parties," the official said, noting America's longstanding opposition to settlement expansion. "It negates the very logic of peace and obstructs the ability of the parties to reach a negotiated solution based on two states for two peoples.”  

Fatah also issued a strong condemnation of the plan to build new homes, accusing the Israeli government of destroying the peace process.

The Israeli decision to build in the settlements confirms the Palestinian Authority’s position about the need to go to go to the UN in September, Fatah said.

“Israel alone bears responsibility for the current impasse in the peace process because of its insistence on creating facts on the ground through settlements, land confiscation and the Judaization of Jerusalem,” the statement added.

It also warned that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies would plunge the region into another cycle of violence and bloodshed.

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