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Palestinian officials condemn Israel settlement plans
Published Tuesday 06/11/2012 (updated) 07/11/2012 18:18
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A section of the Israeli separation wall is seen between the Shufat
refugee camp and Pisgat Zeev in an area Israel illegally annexed
after capturing it in 1967. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO leader Hanan Ashrawi on Tuesday condemned reported plans for Israel to construct new settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem and in Ariel in the West Bank.

The Israel Land Administration on Monday published notices inviting bids from contractors to build on plots in Ramot and Pisgat Zeev, urban settlements that Israel has declared part of Jerusalem.

The plans call for the building of 607 new homes in Pisgat Zeev and 606 in Ramot. Tens of thousands of Israelis already live in the two areas.

"Such organized efforts to construct more units in the illegal settlements of Pisgat Zeev, Ramot, and Ariel are a deliberate attempt to breach international law and to destroy all chances for peace," Ashrawi said in a statement.

"With today’s announcement, it is obvious that such actions are in response to our decision to go to the United Nations, which serves to rescue the failed peace process and end the illegal occupation.

"As such, this sends a clear message to both the international community and to the Palestinians that Israel is more committed to annexing Palestinian land than committing to any peace resolution with the Palestinian people."

The Israeli NGO Peace Now said Tuesday that an additional tender for the construction of 72 homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel was reissued on Monday after a previous notice failed to attract winning bidders.

Ashrawi urged the international community to intervene.

“We call on the European Union, the Quartet and other members of the international community to hold Israel accountable, demand that it cease all settlement activities and actions that defy international law and support our peaceful diplomatic efforts to achieve an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital."

Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of Fatah's central committee, also slammed the announcement.

"For those who still wonder if there is an Israeli partner for peace, the answer has been given," Shtayyeh said in a separate statement.

"This is all Netanyahu and Lieberman have to offer: The destruction of the two-state solution and the imposition of an Apartheid regime."

The Israeli decision to expand settlements in the occupied territories is another reason why the Palestinians must pursue a UN bid, he added.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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1 ) ian / australia
07/11/2012 01:27
Seems Israel is "going crazy" early. I've said it before: the UN upgrade is so reasonable and just, attempts to fight it (like this) seem hysterical (also illegal). Something is changing. The yin and yang are shifting. Israel will soon be building and generally carrying on like a 19th century Colonial Great Power in ANOTHER COUNTRY. (Dr. Ashrawi would be a great first president IMHO.)

2 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
07/11/2012 17:14
The Palestinians, according to international law, are absolutely justified in their anger. So, for the sake of honesty, I'll just say it really IS high time to say the ultimate announcement. Our government won't because of worldwide condemnation. So I WILL: Israel hereby declares full, complete, total, permanent and irreversible annexation of all of Gaza and the W. Bank ... now, forever and for good. Is anyone else out there so damn gullible about our "support" for a (2nd) Pal state ??? ...

3 ) gabi / australia
09/11/2012 02:05
# 2 - and are the Palestinians to get the vote?

4 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
12/11/2012 17:56
@ 3), Of course not. If they want to vote, they move to Jordan/Palestine where they can foster and encourage voting in their nation as much as they want. (By the way, Jordan/Palestine does have some democracy already ... In its national legislature, they do vote for members of the Chamber of Deputies.)
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