The Palestinian Authority leadership decided on Saturday to go to the UN
Security Council to demand an end to West Bank settlement construction and
Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
The decision followed a meeting of the
PLO Executive Committee at the Mukata presidential compound in
slams 'provocative' J'lem building plans
committee to discuss Silwan tourism center
PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo said after the meeting
that in the wake of the increased “settlement campaign,” the Palestinian
leadership had decided to file a complaint with the Security Council against
Abed Rabbo said the goal of the Israeli settlement activities was
to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and to impose a “canton”
solution on the Palestinians.
He also complained that Israel’s measures
were aimed at isolating east Jerusalem from the West Bank.
Palestinian leadership called on the Arab League to convene to discuss the issue
of the settlements, he said. He added that settlements were illegal and
destroyed any chance of a two-state solution.
The Palestinians appealed
to the Quartet members – the US, UN, Russia and EU – to intervene with Israel to
stop settlement expansion and find ways of resuming the peace
The PA leadership also called on Palestinians to step up
“popular resistance” against settlements and the “crimes” of settlers against
mosques, churches and private property.
In response, Israel called on the
PA to return to the negotiating table.
“Thirty years of anti-Israel
resolutions at the UN have given the Palestinians nothing but countless pieces
of paper,” an Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post
“The only way to
move forward, to change the reality on the ground and achieve peace, is through
direct negotiations,” the official said.
“By consistently refusing to
enter direct negotiations, the Palestinian leadership is betraying its own
Last February, the United States vetoed a Security Council
resolution that would have censured Israel for settlement
In December, after a Security Council meeting, ambassadors
from member states including Britain, Germany, France and Portugal harshly
criticized Jewish building in West Bank settlements and east
The PA’s decision to again appeal to the UN comes after
Wednesday’s approval by a planning committee of the first stage of the
bureaucratic process to permit three Jewish construction projects in east
One project is for 130 housing units on the border between the
Jewish neighborhood of Gilo and the Israeli Arab one of Beit Safafa, with
apartment buildings up to 12 stories.
The others are for tourism
buildings in the City of David archeological park in Silwan.
Britain’s Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt said, “I
condemn the decision by the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee to
build additional structures in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, and
housing in the settlement of Gilo. This is another provocative and deeply
counter-productive step, the latest in a series by the Israeli
Burt’s condemnation followed a statement by the French
Foreign Ministry on Thursday urging Israel to forgo the construction plans, “in
order to establish between the parties a climate of trust that is conducive to
the resumption of direct negotiations.”
Melanie Lidman and Jerusalem Post
staff contributed to this report.