Erekat slams Israel for J'lem nat'l bill, undermining UN

PA official outraged at national priority bill in J'lem housing; says Israel undermined the efficacy of and derogated the UN System.

October 25, 2010 16:06
2 minute read.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat gives a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Erekat 311. (photo credit: AP)

The Palestinian Authority on Monday expressed outrage at the support for an Israeli bill that would give national priority to Jerusalem in housing, employment and education, similar to the priority given to periphery towns, according to the Xinhua news agency.

According to the report, chief PA negotiator said the proposed law was another phase in the process to claim Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of Israel. Annexing Jerusalem to Israel is "illegitimate and won't be recognized," he said.

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Jerusalem is defined as an occupied territory according to relevant UN resolutions, international law and Geneva conventions, said Erekat. He continued to say that the bill is a new challenge to the United States which has been insistent on going forward with peace negotiations.

"This is a proof that the Israeli government selected settlements instead of peace," Erekat said on the Israeli decision not to extend the construction freeze on Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

The legislation, sponsored by MK Uri Ariel (National Union), is slated for a first reading in the Knesset soon.  The bill would award building priority to various neighborhoods in Jerusalem, including in the eastern half of the city, and could lead to friction with the United States and Europe.

Also on Monday, Erekat issued a statement criticizing Israel for violating UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions and undermining the world organization, according the Ma'an news agency.

The Palestinian negotiator called on countries "to honor the noble objectives of the UN by holding Israel accountable for its continued occupation of Palestine and to uphold the rights of Palestinian refugees."

Erekat was quoted as saying that, "Israel has undermined the efficacy of and derogated the UN system, the very authority through which it was created. Instead, Israel works diligently to pressure its allies to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state."

It is "time for Israel to stop its blatant disregard of international law and international consensus...[and] for the international community to hold Israel accountable for its disregard for international law," he said.

"It is time for Palestine to be free," Erekat added.

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