Abbas Asks Americans to Stop Israeli Construction
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has appealed to the United States to block a new Israeli plan to build hundreds of additional homes in Judea and Samaria, the PA’s top negotiator said Friday, according to The Associated Press (AP).
The comments by Saeb Erekat come in the wake of reports that Israel plans to publish tenders for the sale of 1,400 housing units in Judea and Samaria, parallel to next week’s release of 26 terrorist prisoners from Israeli jails.
Erekat said that in a late-night meeting Thursday with U.S. envoy Martin Indyk, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "asked for U.S. intervention to stop the Israeli government from issuing new settlement decisions in order to save the peace process and the American efforts.”
NRG/Maariv on Thursday quoted diplomatic sources as saying 600-700 homes will be sold in Jerusalem, apparently in Ramat Shlomo, and the rest of the units marketed will be in Judea and Samaria, most likely inside the “settlement blocs.”
The announcement will come despite requests by both the United States and the EU that Israel refrain from announcing new construction at the present time.
Previous announcements on construction raised the ire of the PA, which demanded that Israel cancel any tenders it has issued for new construction or the talks would be over.
The PA has repeatedly slammed Israel’s planned construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, despite the fact that it was informed in advance that Israel will continue to build as talks continue. The areas in which Israel plans to build are areas that even the PA has previously accepted will be part of Israel in a future deal.
On Wednesday night, when reports of the new planned construction were made public, PA officials accused Israel of “killing the peace process.”
Erekat did not say how the PA would respond to the expected Israeli announcement. He said officials advised Abbas to resume the PA’s campaign of joining UN and other international organizations in the absence of a peace deal.
"This is the only response. There is no use with this Israeli government," he said, according to AP.
Meanwhile, a senior European Union (EU) official issued a direct warning to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday, saying that the EU would not tolerate new construction in Judea and Samaria.
"There will be very little understanding on the part of European governments regarding any announcement of construction in the territories now under negotiations. Israel should expect a strong reaction on the part of European governments if it is going to go in that direction,” said the official.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)