Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat demanded Saturday that the international community send inspectors to the territories and east Jerusalem in order to guarantee that the Israeli construction would be completely halted.
Erekat welcomed the statement issued Friday by the International Quartet on the Middle East (the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations) following a meeting in Moscow, which called on Israel to freeze all settlements.
He told the London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, "We welcome the announcement, but we say to the Quartet that they must move from a position of issuing statements to a position of execution."
Quartet representatives with envoy Blair (L), in Moscow on Friday (Photo: AFP)
Erekat said, "We demand that the Quarter turn its statements into systems which will force Israel to implement its commitments on the ground, and particularly in terms of halting construction in the settlements, in all the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem."
He also demanded that inspection teams would be stationed on the ground in order to ensure that the building freeze was being implemented.
Erekat accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of provoking the international community. "How can he be trusted, after saying today that he will not announce any construction in the settlements?" he asked. "This means he will continue doing so secretly."
Ramat Shlomo – the neighborhood that sparked a row (Photo: AP)
"Therefore, we are saying that there must be systems obligating Israel to stop building in the settlements completely, including the natural growth in all Palestinian territories in the West Bank and occupied east Jerusalem," Erekat said.
He also called for "an end to the occupation in the territories, an implementation of the two-state principle and no recognition of Jerusalem's annexation."
According to the statement made in Moscow on Friday, "The Quartet urges the government of Israel to freeze all settlement activities ... and to refrain from demolitions and evictions." The statement, read by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, "condemns the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem."