(photo credit: Joanna Paraszczuk)
The Palestinian Authority on Monday condemned the Defense Ministry's authorization of 277 new homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel as "an Israeli attempt to obstruct and destroy what is left of any effort to revive the peace process."
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"Once again, these Israeli settlement measures represent a strong reason calling on us to go to the United Nations and the Security Council to request membership for the State of Palestine and to halt these Israeli measures," said Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
A statement from the
Defense Ministry said earlier on Monday that Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week authorized the marketing of the 277
The statement added that at least
100 of those homes were designated for those evacuated from the Gaza
settlement of Netzarim in 2005.
The announcement comes a week after the Interior Ministry approved construction for 1,600 housing unites in Ramat Shlomo, in east Jerusalem.
Those plans stirred
criticism from the European Union, Palestinian Authority, and the
United States, which argued that unilateral actions by either the
Palestinians or Israelis were "counterproductive."
A US State
Department official said that because Jerusalem is a "final-status
issue," its disposition should "be decided by the parties in the
The Prime Minister's Office has defended
Israel's right to build in east Jerusalem, claiming that Jerusalem was
not a part of the 2010 settlement freeze that Israel agreed to.
The prime minister did not comment on the construction in Ariel, a settlement located in the West Bank with a population of over 17,000.