Erekat: Israel Chose Settlements Over Peace
The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) chief negotiator with Israel, Saeb Erekat, on Tuesday accused the Jewish state of “choosing settlements over peace” and blamed it for the failure of the peace talks.
"The international community must make it clear to Israel that the very choice of settlements and apartheid over peace has a political, legal, and economic price," he charged.
Erekat claimed that the current Israeli government represents radical sectors of Israeli society, including the “settlers”. He added the government "has never placed peace as a priority.”
The comments were made on the day that the nine-month period set by the United States for the peace talks expired.
Israel officially pulled out of the talks last week, in response to the unity pact between Fatah and the Hamas terrorist group.
Israel has also announced sanctions on the PA in response to the Hamas-Fatah pact. An official in Jerusalem said Monday that Israel has started to deduct the PA’s debts from the tax money it collects on its behalf and noted that this sanction “is just the first step”.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas attacked Israel for not recognizing eastern Jerusalem as "occupied territory," accusing Israel of "war crimes" and "ethnic cleansing" by allowing movement in its capital city.
"Up till now, Israel hasn't recognized that East Jerusalem is occupied land," stated Abbas.
At the same time, he took the opportunity also to state his demands for the continuation of the peace talks.
Those conditions included the release of the fourth and final batch of terrorists offered as a "gesture" by Israel, as well as an Israeli building freeze in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.