PA, opposition decry West Bank building decision

PA slams accelerated Jewish construction, cut to tax transfers; Kadima, Peace Now denounce move, Yesha calls it a "step in the right direction."

Gilo Construction 311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
Gilo Construction 311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
The Palestinian Authority, Kadima and Peace Now on Tuesday decried Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to accelerate Jewish construction over the pre-1967 lines and to temporarily suspend the transfer of tax funds to the PA. The Yesha Council, however, lauded the decision.
The PA immediately slammed the two decisions made by the Inner Cabinet, a forum of eight ministers, which had convened for several hours.
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Israel’s decision to build new housing units in east Jerusalem and two West Bank settlements will destroy the peace process, the PA warned.
“It’s a blow to the Quartet efforts to achieve peace,” said Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Kadima criticized the decision saying that "Israel has isolated itself in the world instead of mobilizing the world to support its goals," said a spokesman. "While the Palestinians have achieved world records - Israel has responded by distancing itself and responding to political failure with foolishness."
Peace Now called the decision to accelerate construction a "price tag" in the peace process stating that "Israel is punishing itself if it chooses to weaken Abbas."
Conversely, the Yesha Council, praised the move: "This is a step in the right direction, both to win the political battle started by the Palestinian campaign, and to return at last to the path of construction and Zionist activity", they said.
The building approvals include 1,650 units in east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods, 327 in two West Bank settlements, 277 in Efrat and 50 in Ma’aleh Adumim. All units were already in the planning stages but needed final approvals.
Now according to an Israeli official, “they have been given a green light.” The official noted that all the building would occur in areas that would remain part of Israel in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians.