Senior PLO member Hanan Ashrawi criticized on Thursday the plan to build 625 new housing units in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood.

Ashrawi, who addressed a delegation of women from the U.S., said that the approval of the construction plan is a failure by the U.S., which she said was failing to prevent Israel from continuing its policy regarding Palestinian Authority Arabs.

During her address, which was quoted by the PA-based Wafa news agency, Ashrawi emphasized that the U.S. must force Israel to stop what she called the “settlement activity”, as a first step to end what she termed “the Israeli occupation.” She noted that she believes that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must take advantage of the new situation in the Middle East to sign a peace agreement with the PA.

Ashrawi also added that it is the right and the obligation of the PA to turn to the UN to seek a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

The construction plan was approved on Thursday during a hearing of the objections subcommittee of Jerusalem’s regional planning and building commission. The subcommittee confirmed the plan, which was approved over a year ago, despite some objections by local residents which would have to be taken into consideration as the building plan is further developed.

The Hamas terror group also referred to the approval of the construction of new housing units, saying in a statement that it strongly condemns “the quick Zionist settlement” in the “occupied West Bank.”

Hamas added that “this decision is proof of the racist policy of the Zionist occupation which is based on land theft and on the Judaization of holy places.”