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Erekat: Israel settler plans 'message' to Kerry not to return
Published Friday 10/01/2014 (updated) 11/01/2014 19:39
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Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat welcomes US Secretary
of State John Kerry (C-R) upon his arrival at the presidential
compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 3, 2014
(Pool/AFP/File Brendan Smialowski)
RAMALLAH (AFP) -- Israeli plans unveiled Friday to build over 1,800 settler homes are a signal to US Secretary of State John Kerry not to pursue his peace push, a top Palestinian negotiator said.

"The new settlement construction plan is a message from (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu to Kerry not to come back to the region to continue his efforts in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks," Saeb Erekat told AFP.

"Every time Kerry has stepped up his efforts, returning to the region (for more talks), Netanyahu has stepped up his efforts to destroy the peace process," Erekat said.

"Netanyahu is determined to destroy the two-state solution.

"It is high time we held Israel accountable for its crimes," he added.

The Israeli housing ministry announced the plans for 1,076 new settlement units in annexed East Jerusalem and 801 in the occupied West Bank, said the Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now.

The housing ministry was not immediately available for comment.

The move comes a week after Kerry visited the region in his latest effort to push Israeli and Palestinian leaders towards an elusive peace deal.

Kerry kick-started negotiations in July after a three-year hiatus, but his 10th visit was clouded by bitter recriminations from both sides, who accused each other of lacking commitment to building peace after decades of conflict.

Israel has announced plans for thousands of settler homes since peace talks began in July.

All settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered illegal under international law.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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1 ) Maureen / Australia
10/01/2014 20:28
It's all just an USraeli game! The US hold the annual Israel $billions purse strings. If the US was serious about "peace talks" with a genuine fair and equal outcome, the purse strings holding the money that assists with Zionist settlement building in Palestine, would be tightened!

2 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/01/2014 22:28
The difficulty with this strategy is that neither Kerry nor Obama actually care if Israel builds more homes. They just need a 'peace agreement.' What it says, or what actually happens is of no interest to them. Kerry will be back.

3 ) howard / USA
10/01/2014 22:31
And of courser the Palestinians are totally committed to the peace negotiations.

4 ) John / Canada
10/01/2014 22:56
Peace can only be achieved if a certain party ( and only that party) wants it. And that party happens to be the good ole US of A. They have the means but not the balls.

5 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/01/2014 23:20
To howard #3: 'And of courser the Palestinians are totally committed to the peace negotiations.' They would be -- if there were any 'negotiations.' Israel has 90% of Palestine -- and wants 95%, with the Palestinians herded into ghettos. What's to discuss?

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/01/2014 23:22
'Israel settler plans 'message' to Kerry not to return' ...and BDS sends a message to Israel: the ride's really about to end. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/minister-lack-peace-will-hurt-israeli-economy When did South Africa start to be effectively boycotted? 1975 or something?

7 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/01/2014 23:24
To Maureen #1: ' The US hold the annual Israel $billions purse strings. If the US was serious about "peace talks" with a genuine fair and equal outcome, the purse strings holding the money that assists with Zionist settlement building in Palestine, would be tightened!' You say this as if we're in charge. I think you misunderstand the power relation between the US and Israel.

8 ) jerry / US
11/01/2014 01:03
How many new units have been authorized since Kerry was appointed?

9 ) Rose Malone / Contae Chiarra? - Eire
11/01/2014 01:28
"Netanyahu is determined to destroy the two-state solution. It is high time we held Israel accountable for its crimes," he [Saeb Erekat] added. - Well said Mr Erekat, of course Bibi wants to destroy the two state solution, but don't walk away from the talks, otherwise you will be held responsible for their failure. Mr Kerry will be back, US needs to look like its doing something useful (whilst giving Isreal billions of tax $$$). Just keep smiling & get the rest of the prisoners released for now.

10 ) jenya / usa
11/01/2014 02:03
Palestinians have zero levarage to demand anything. They so far didn't agree to anything israel is demanding and just give me this give me that. They can forget about jerusalem and this so called right to return. usa and israel have normal people who believe In truthful negotiations and palestians have fake people who have no right to anything. My advise if u want something just ask nicely.

11 ) Johnny benson / USA
11/01/2014 02:11
Gosh durn it...Colin is right...Obama and Kerry will push..coddle..beg..plead..pay off..promise anything...do anything for any form of an agreement..no matter if it holds up for a short time..or anytime...who knows maybe miracles happen?

12 ) Bemused / New Zealand
11/01/2014 03:38
"It is high time we held Israel accountable for its crimes," he added - so why didn't they do exactly that, instead of continuing with pointless non-representative negotiations?

13 ) Outlier / USA
12/01/2014 01:22
Since he retired, he should shut up and let others do the job he so failed to do.

14 ) @johnny benson / USA
12/01/2014 20:19
#11 Johnny benson, I believe your describing apiac; bribe, blackmail,intimidate, etc our congress and senate.. Israeli firsters must be locked up or deported, no more duel citizenship !!

15 ) @ Rose-9 / 1948 & 2012
12/01/2014 20:42
-1- As of the UN General Assembly's 2012 resolution, There have been "two states living side-by-side" (without peace), and Just -2- As the UN Security Council's resolution failed to set borders of the two states in 1948, the UN 2012 border language is equally meaningless, and -3- As the 2012 state continues to use terrorist (stones & bombs from Ramallah) and military (mortars & rockets from Gaza) measures, the 1948 state is justified in using anti-terrorism and anti-military measures !!!

16 ) @ Bemused-12 / USA
12/01/2014 20:46
Israel's crime in 1948 was survival against Arab aggression, with intent upon another Jewish Genocide, and the same is true for 1967 & 1973, and SURVIVAL (as opposed to decades Arab Terrorism) IS A RIGHT.

17 ) Tibi / Tubas
12/01/2014 20:48
Hopefully the next generation of Palestinians will be wiser, since Israel will remain a secure prosperous Jewish state, either way, but: - Without An Agreement With Israel, the world will be - Without A Real State For Palestinians !!
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