Nabil Abu Rudeineh
Nabil Abu Rudeineh Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman on Wednesday criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for saying that Israel would strengthen the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.

The spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said that Netanyahu's remarks convey a message to the international community that Israel continues to place obstacles and destroy opportunities to renew the peace process.

"This comment is a defiance of the American administration and its efforts to create an atmosphere conducive to a serious diplomatic process, and a blatant defiance of the entire international community, which recognized the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders and its capital East Jerusalem, as well as a defiance of the Security Council, which clearly condemned the settlements in all Palestinian lands and said they violate international legitimacy," charged Abu Rudeineh.

"If Netanyahu does not see the 1967 war as occupation, then what is the point of renewing the diplomatic process and why is there a need for negotiations and on what basis?" he continued.

He added, "The failure of the international community to recognize the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, proves that the Palestinian problem is strong and that the Palestinian people have not been defeated and are determined to establish their independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital that will be empty of settlers.”

Abu Rudeineh's remarks are a reflection of a policy that has continuously been stressed by Abbas and his associates, and which states that a future Palestinian state will be free of Jews.

Netanyahu has said that the PA leadership’s demand that a Palestinian state be free of Jews is ethnic cleansing and the concept of ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd.