Erekat: U.S. encouraging 'settlements'

PLO official blasts approval of new construction in Judea and Samaria, says it is encouraged by the United States.

Dalit Halevi ,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Flash 90

Saeb Erekat, secretary of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), is furious at the Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration's decision to approve the construction of hundreds of housing units in Judea and Samaria.

Erekat said in a press release on Thursday that the construction of additional housing units in the "occupied Palestinian land" is the result of American policy that encourages human rights violations by Israel.

He added that the State Department's refusal to condemn the "illegal colonial plans" gives Israel the green light to continue violating international law in a way that threatens peace and security in the region.

Erekat demanded that Israel be brought to justice by mentioning the report of the UN Secretary-General on the international protection of the "Palestinian people", which is due to be published next week.

"The settlement colonialist expansion in occupied Palestine by the Israeli occupation regime is not only a serious violation of international humanitarian law but a war crime," Erekat charged.

He called on the international community to impose sanctions on Israel until it fulfills its obligations under international law and UN resolutions.

Earlier on Thursday, the European Union (EU) released a sharply-worded statement criticizing Israel over the approval of the construction.

"Within the past two weeks the Israeli authorities have advanced plans and tenders for over two thousand settlement units in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. If implemented, these plans would further jeopardize the prospect of a contiguous and viable future Palestinian state," said the EU.

"The EU is strongly opposed to Israel's settlement policy which is illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace," continued the statement, adding that the diplomatic body "will continue to engage with both parties and with its international and regional partners to support a resumption of a meaningful process towards a negotiated two-state solution, the only realistic and viable way to fulfil the legitimate aspirations of both parties".