'PA may freeze talks over construction'

Top Abbas adviser threatens to halt all negotiations with Israel over east Jerusalem expansion plans.

Abed rabbo serious 224.88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Abed rabbo serious 224.88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The Palestinian Authority is considering announcing that it is freezing negotiations with Israel over its continued construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, a senior adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday. At a press conference in Ramallah, Yasser Abed Rabbo said a final decision would be made when Abbas returns from a conference of Mediterranean nations in Paris next week. "We will freeze any contacts with the Israeli side until the expansion of West Bank settlements is stopped completely," he threatened. On Wednesday the Jerusalem municipality said the Interior Ministry has given tentative approval to the city's plan to build nearly 1,000 new homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa. Abed Rabbo added that the PA, in cooperation with Arab nations, was pressing the UN Security Council to pass a resolution demanding a halt to construction. "We know that the US will probably oppose such a resolution, but we are adamant in our intention to overcome this opposition," he said. The Fatah official also condemned Israel's West Bank operation near Jenin on Wednesday night, during which troops killed a Hamas operative. "We see any Israeli operation in Jenin as intentional taunting of the Palestinian Authority," he said. The construction proposal, which is now up for public objection, would see the construction of 920 homes in the outlying Jerusalem neighborhood which was constructed over the last decade despite opposition from the international community. The east Jerusalem expansion plan was previously approved by the city last year. The neighborhood, which overlooks Bethlehem, is located within the municipal borders of the city built on land annexed by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War.