Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia told the PA cabinet Sunday that the "fight has begun for Jerusalem."
Meeting in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis instead of its usual hall in Ramallah, Qureia accused Israel of building the West Bank security fence in order to trap Palestinians in a "ghetto".
"Dozens of Palestinian settlements will be in this ghetto as a result of Israel's racist plans intended to push West Bank Palestinians off their land. We will never agree to this," he said.
The cabinet meeting was intended to open a PA public relations campaign against the fence, especially in the Jerusalem area. Ministers viewed a presentation about settlement expansion around Jerusalem, according to which, thousands of new apartments are planned in the Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion areas.
Palestinians report that just in the last few days, four expropriation orders, covering 1,800 dunams (444 acres,) were issued for settlement expansion. Expropriated areas included Jerusalem-area villages such as al-Azariyya, Abu Dis, and A-Tur.
Danger for peace
Qureia said that in light of Israel's security fence, the world must understand that Jerusalem and the West Bank are in "danger."
"The fence endangers the entire peace process, and not only the Israeli-Palestinian one. Peace throughout the region is endangered," he said.
"Instead of the disengagement being a starting point to advance the diplomatic process, as the world expects, the government of Israel has decided to continue with its policy of expropriations and building a wall that will leave 70,000 Palestinians in what they call a "ghetto."
Qureia said his use of the word ghetto was no coincidence.
"We will not allow Israel to say, 'we have finished pulling out of Gaza' while at the same time expanding towns in the West Bank and around Jerusalem," he said.
"We call on the United States, the Quartet and the world to show responsibility for this," he said.
War for Jerusalem
Qureia also sent a message to U.S. President George W. Bush, reminding the latter of a promise to establish a "viable" Palestinian state.
"From our perspective, the only viable country would be with the 1967 borders," he said, "not a series of disconnected cantons."
"From our perspective, the fight for Jerusalem has begun. And it is a dangerous war. No Arab, Palestinian – Christian or Muslim – will accept Israel's racist plans," he said.
Qureia also rejected a suggestion that the security fence might have prevented Sunday morning's terror bombing at the Be'er Sheva bus station.
"This wall is not a security wall. It is a wall meant to set borders. How else would you explain the fact that the fence runs through Palestinian communities? If they want a security fence, let them build it on the Green Line."