PA: Ariel building shows Israel destroying peace process

Abbas spokesman says settlement construction represents strong reason for PA to go to UN to request statehood in September.

Ariel 521 (photo credit: Joanna Paraszczuk)
Ariel 521
(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."
"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
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A statement from the Defense Ministry said earlier on Monday that Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week authorized the marketing of the 277 new homes.
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 negotiations."
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.