PA: Israeli gov't seeking to create facts on the ground

Abu Rudaineh, Erekat slam Israel's expected approval of 4,300 housing units in east Jerusalem over next week; Fatah: Israel trying to solve its social and economic problems at the expense of the Palestinians.

Ramat Shlomo 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Ramat Shlomo 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday strongly condemned Israel’s decision to build new housing projects in east Jerusalem and accused the Israeli government of seeking to create new facts on the ground.
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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Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the decision was an attempt by the Israeli government to create new facts on the ground ahead of a UN vote next month on recognition of a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines.
Abu Rudaineh called upon the US and EU to exert pressure on the Israeli government to “stop this unilateral measure” on the part of Israel.
Abbas’s Fatah faction accused Israel of waging a “new aggression” on Palestinian territories by approving the new projects in east Jerusalem. It described the decision as a blow to the will of the international community and the UN.
“We reject the policy of the Israeli occupation government to solve its social and economic problems at the expense of the Palestinians and their occupied territories,” Fatah added in a statement.
“We are determined to defend the rights of our people and resist the occupation’s settler projects through legal means.”
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the housing projects as a “war crime” and urged US President Barack Obama to change his position against the PA’s statehood bid at the UN.
“We condemn this action which is considered a wear crime by the 1949 Geneva Conventions,” Erekat said. He pointed out that the decision was announced the day after Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu talked over the phone.
“The only way to preserve the option of the two-state solution – Palestine and Israel – is through the UN and that Palestine be accepted as a member on the 1967 borders,” Erekat said. “Then the policy of settlement construction and imposing dictates on us will become null and void.”
Erekat also criticized the US and other countries for putting pressure on the PA to abandon its statehood plan. “This pressure is completely unacceptable and will plunge the region into a cycle of violence, extremism, anarchy and bloodshed,” he cautioned.
Melanie Lidman contributed to this report