The West Bank Settlement of Givat Ze'ev.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah called on the United States to compel Israel to freeze settlement construction, in a press release to Wafa, the official PA news site.
“It is not enough for the US to issue warnings about settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories,” Abu Rudeinah said on Thursday.
“What is needed is a practical step that forces the Israeli government to freeze its settlement activities that threaten to destroy regional and international efforts to resume the peace process.”
Army Radio reported on Wednesday that the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, Israel’s governing body in the West Bank, approved 466 housing units in a variety of settlements across the West Bank.
Following the announcement, a US official warned that settlement expansion “fundamentally undermines the prospects for a two-state solution, and risks entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict.
These policies have effectively given the government’s green light for the pervasive advancement of settlement activity in a new and potentially unlimited way.”
Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official in charge of monitoring settlements, clarified to The Jerusalem Post that the US could take a variety of steps to make Israel freeze settlement activity.
“The US could fully support the French Initiative, or abstain from using its veto at the UN Security Council,” Daghlas said. “It has a number of cards in its hands.”
In his press release, Abu Rudeinah stated further that Palestinian leadership intends to raise the settlements issue at the UN. “The Palestinian leadership in coordination with the Arab League foreign ministers will be contacting international parties to expedite the holding of a Security Council meeting to issue a resolution [calling for] a settlement freeze,” he said.
On July 24, PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erakat said the Palestinian leadership plans to make another effort to submit a draft resolution to halt settlement building.
The international community, including the US and EU, considers settlement building illegal according to international law. The July report of the Quartet, compiled by the US, EU, Russia and UN, expressed concern over settlement expansion and systematic land seizures.
Meanwhile, the government considers Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under its administrative and security control, disputed territory and thereby rejects the international community’s position on settlements.
Both Israel and the Palestinian leadership will attend the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York later this month.
PLO Executive Committee Member Ahmad Majdalani recently revealed that Cairo and Moscow have opened a dialogue with the Palestinian leadership about the possibility of holding a meeting in Moscow. However, Majdalani has insisted that any meeting must be preceded by a settlement freeze and the release of the fourth batch of prisoners.