In response to reports that Israel issued tenders for construction of some 20,000 housing units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority and the US White House expressed opposition to the move.
The Palestinians threatened Tuesday to appeal to the UN Security Council over Israel’s quickening settlement drive in the West Bank and to step up efforts to join UN agencies.
“In the coming hours, the Palestinian leadership is going to consider appealing to the UN Security Council and seeking membership of international organizations if Israel does not reverse its latest settlement moves,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Abbas said peace talks would end if Israel does not cancel the new settlement tenders.
The White House issued a statement slamming the move, saying: “We are deeply concerned by the latest reports that over 20,000 additional units are in the early planning stages. We are currently seeking further explanation from the government of Israel. Our position on settlements is quite clear: We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”
Addressing ongoing peace talks between Israelis andPalestinians, the White House noted: “We have called on both sides to take steps to create a positive atmosphere for the negotiations. We do not consider settlement planning, even in its early stages, to be a step that creates a positive environment for the negotiations.”
Earlier Tuesday, it was revealed that the State of Israel has issued tenders for 20,000 new housing units in the West Bank.
The plans included the disputed E1 area nearMa’aleh Adumim, but the Prime Minister’s Office canceled the tender pertaining to E1, stating that “there is no need to pay international prices for a process that does not have great significance.”
The United States has harshly criticized Israel’s declared plans to pursue construction in the E1 area in the past, labeling it “a pattern of provocative action.”