Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan AshrawiMiriam Alster/Flash 90

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, on Wednesday blasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his coalition following Israel's approval of new construction in Judea and Samaria.

"In blatant disregard of the requirements for the two-state solution and the chances for peace and stability, Netanyahu and his extremist, racist coalition continue to persist with their egregious policies of colonial-settler expansionism,” she said in a statement quoted by the Palestinian Arab WAFA news agency.

“Israel is deliberately working to enhance its extremist Jewish settler population and to superimpose 'Greater Israel' on all of historic Palestine. Undoubtedly, it is bent on annexing the entire city of Jerusalem, systematically wiping out the Palestinian presence and continuity on Palestinian soil, and destroying the territorial and demographic contiguity of the future Palestinian state,” continued Ashrawi.

She called on governments worldwide to intervene immediately and to hold Israel accountable with serious punitive measures to put an end to its “acts of land theft and colonialism” once and for all.

“The Palestinian leadership remains committed to seeking justice and protection in all international legal venues for the people of Palestine and to defending their legitimate aspirations for freedom and self-determination," she said.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration approved marketing for 300 housing units in Beit El, a promise Netanyahu made to residents five years ago.

The approval of construction in Beit El came a day after the Civil Administration issued 31 building permits for a planned housing project in Hevron, the first permits for new Israeli construction in the ancient city in decades.

Ashrawi's statement came a day after Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman blasted the approval as well.

“This settlement assault comes at a time when the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is exerting effort and creating the conditions that will pave the way for making a real peace,” said the spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

He accused Netanyahu of defying the world, especially the Trump administration, by insisting on continuing with “settlement activity in the territory of the State of Palestine”.

On Wednesday, the European Union (EU) condemned the construction announcement, stating that the new housing units would "severely jeopardize the contiguity and viability of a future Palestinian state."

"The European Union has requested clarifications from Israeli authorities and conveyed the expectation that they reconsider these decisions, which are detrimental to ongoing efforts towards meaningful peace talks," the EU said in a statement.

The White House, for its part, issued a statement in which it did not condemn Israel, but also said that construction does not advance peace.

“President Trump has publicly and privately expressed his concerns regarding settlements and the Administration has made clear that unrestrained settlement activity does not advance the prospect for peace,” the statement said.

“At the same time the Administration recognizes that past demands for a settlement freeze have not helped advance peace talks.”