Senior PA official: Peace talks could 'collapse' amid settlement expansion

Yasser Abed Rabbo: Settlement expansion goes against US pledges; Kerry: US views all settlements as illegitimate.

PLO Exec. C'tee Sec.-Gen Abed Rabbo 311 (R) (photo credit: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)
PLO Exec. C'tee Sec.-Gen Abed Rabbo 311 (R)
(photo credit: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)
Peace talks set to resume in Jerusalem on Wednesday could "collapse" as a result of Israel advancing plans to build in settlements, AFP quoted Senior Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo as saying on Tuesday.
"Settlement expansion goes against the US administration's pledges and threatens to cause the negotiations' collapse," Abed-Rabbo told AFP.
Abed-Rabbo's comments came after the Construction and Housing Ministry announced Sunday that it intends to publish tenders for 1,187 new Jewish homes over the pre-1967 lines, and the Interior Ministry advanced plans for 900 new Jewish home units next to the Gilo neighborhood in east Jerusalem on Monday.
"This settlement expansion is unprecedented," AFP quoted Abed Rabbo as saying. "It threatens to make talks fail even before they've started."
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that Israel's announcement of new settlement units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem was "to some degree expected," and urged Israelis and Palestinians to move head with peace talks.
"What this underscores is the importance of getting to the table, getting to the table quickly" and resolving disputes over settlements and other issues, said Kerry. He added that he had spoken on Monday with Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni and had called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is recovering from surgery.
"The United States of America views all of the settlements as illegitimate," said Kerry, who was on a visit to Colombia.
Reuters contributed to this report.