'Israel trying to fix social ills at Palestinians' expense'

Fatah slams Israel's expected approval of 4,300 housing units in east Jerusalem over next week; Erekat: Plans prove "that this government is committed to investing in occupation rather than peace."

Ramat Shlomo 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Ramat Shlomo 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Fatah on Thursday responded to the Interior Ministry's approval of housing units in east Jerusalem, accusing Israel of attempting "to solve its social and economic problems at the expense of the Palestinian peoples’ rights and their occupied territory,” Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
In a nod to the hundreds of tents across the country,  Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) approved 1,600 apartment units in the east Jerusalem haredi neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo late on Wednesday night. The Hebrew media reported that the Interior Ministry was working to prepare two additional projects in east Jerusalem, including 2,000 projects in Givat Hamatos and 625 units in Pisgat Zeev.
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Fatah vowed to “protect Palestinian rights and to resist the occupier’s settlement projects through legitimate means.”
The group, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called on the international community to stop Israel's building plans which it claimed would bring tension to the region.
"Looking for solutions at the expense of the historical rights of the Palestinian people on their land will not lead to security and stability,” Fatah said.
The statement added that the only way for Israel to solve its social, economic and security problems was by stopping settlement construction and recognizing a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines.
Also Thursday, PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat was quoted by WAFA as saying,“This approval and the reported plan for additional expansion in illegal settlements across the occupied Palestinian Territory, especially occupied East Jerusalem, is further proof that this government is committed to investing in occupation rather than peace."
“In the past few days, members of the international community, including all members of the Quartet, condemned the expansion of the illegal settlement of Har Homa. Today, Israel has responded to this international consensus with intransigence and willful disregard,” he added.
Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.