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 Ramallah.

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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 Israel.

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.

The 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 process.

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 people.”

Last February, the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have censured Israel for settlement construction.

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 Jerusalem.

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 Jerusalem.

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.

On Friday, 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 authorities.”

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.

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