Erekat: Israel's publication of Jerusalem building tenders threatens peace process

Chief Palestinian negotiator calls on world to pressure Israel.

Saeb Erekat 370 (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Saeb Erekat 370
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed on Thursday Israel's decision to publish tenders for the construction of 58 housing units in the east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev. 
Erekat warned that Israel's continued publication of building tenders would lead to the destruction of the peace process. 
Erekat made the remarks in a meeting in Jericho with the US representative to the talks Martin Indyk, Israel Radio reported.
Erekat also met with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process Robert Serry and EU representatives on Thursday and told them that the international community should invest all efforts to force Israel to give a chance to the peace process, according to the report.
"Our position is clear and in line with international law: all Israeli settlements in Palestine are illegal," Ma'an news agency quoted Erekat saying.
"Settlement construction in occupied East Jerusalem, Ariel and Kiryat Arba is illegal and undermines the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution. If Israel is serious about peace, they must cease all settlement activities."
On Wednesday the Jerusalem Municipality’s Local Planning and Construction Committee approved the building of the units in Pisgat Ze’ev in a majority vote.
The Palestinian Authority promptly condemned the decision as a “violation of international law” and “obstacle on the road to reach peace” in a statement and called on the municipality to reverse its decision.
The Palestinians are seriously considering declaring the failure of the peace talks with Israel, a senior PLO official said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Hanna Amireh, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said Wednesday the Palestinians are seriously considering declaring the failure of the peace talks with Israel.
Israel, Amireh said, is benefiting from the prolonged negotiations in order to “impose more facts on the ground and dictate the outcome of the talks.”
Israel renewed peace talks with the Palestinians in July, some three years after the previous attempt at negotiations fell apart.
Khaled Abu Toaemeh and Daniel Eisenbud contributed to this report.