'PA intends to initiate UNSC debate on settlement-building'

Abbas reportedly asks Palestinian delegate to the UN to gain Arab states' support to bring Israeli-building issue to Security Council for discussion; Clinton calls continued building 'counterproductive' towards peace.

November 10, 2010 19:34
2 minute read.
UN Security Council

UN Security Council 311. (photo credit: courtesy)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed his envoy to the UN to request an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss settlement construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for the PA presidency, announced on Wednesday.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad Malki sent an urgent message to the envoy, ordering him to move immediately to request the Security Council meeting and to coordinate with various groups at the UN in this regard, Abu Rudaineh said.

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“Settlement construction in Jerusalem or any other part of the Palestinian territories is in violation of international law which considers settlements and the establishment of facts on the ground as illegitimate,” he added.

The spokesman also dismissed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and not a settlement. “The entire world hasn’t recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Abu Rudaineh said. “Instead, the world recognizes East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.”

He noted that the US, which has an embassy in Tel Aviv, also doesn’t recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He warned that plans to build new homes in the settlements and Jerusalem would sabotage efforts to revive the stalled peace talks with Israel.

Ahmed Ruwaidi, head of the Jerusalem portfolio in Abbas’s bureau, claimed on Wednesday that Israel was planning to completely destroy Jerusalem and create a new “Israeli Jerusalem.”

He said that the “new Jerusalem would include new settlements and a complete change of the reality in the Old City.”

Clinton calls building plans 'counterproductive'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that Israel's plan to go ahead with additional construction in the West Bank was counterproductive to peace negotiations, according to another Reuters report.

Clinton explained to reporters that a Middle East peace deal was still possible and necessary and said she also highlighted that the US was continuing to work to resume negotiations.

Clinton also announced that the US will give $150 million in new aid to the Palestinian Authority.

She said that new funding was designed to help the Palestinians close a huge budget gap.

Earlier in the week, US President Barack Obama publicly reprimanded Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week over government-approved building in east Jerusalem as the Palestinians reissued their threats to seek unilateral statehood.

Speaking about the approval for 1,345 new housing units in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem at a press conference in Indonesia, Obama said, “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.” He added that such “incremental steps can end up breaking down trust between the parties.”

Netanyahu, in turn, sharply defended Israel’s right to build in Jerusalem, which it claims as its eternal united capital, even as the Palestinians claim the eastern party of the city as the capital of their future state.

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