Abbas appeals to US over Silwan construction plan
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says Palestinian president contacted Washington to urge US to take action to cancel King's Garden construction plan in east Jerusalem. 'US must take swift action against this provocation,' Abbas' spokesman says
While Washington has already stated that the construction plan that entails the demolition of 22 Arab homes in Silwan damages trust between Israel and the Palestinians, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is not making do with statements, and is looking for action.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP on Tuesday that Abbas asked the United States to take action to cancel the King's Garden project in east Jerusalem, part of which includes the demolition of Arab homes.
"I sent a notice this morning from the Palestinian president to the US in which he asked the American administration to intervene directly so that the Israeli project is canceled," said Erekat.
Erekat also said, "We vehemently denounce the decision, which will result in the demolition of 22 houses in Silwan."
According to him, "Israel continues its settlements policy in east Jerusalem and threatens to harm US efforts to promote proximity talks." Erekat added that this will be the main topic of discussion in the meeting between Jordanian King Abdullah and Abbas that is slated to be held later Tuesday.
Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that the decision to destroy the homes in east Jerusalem "is a return to the Israeli policy that tries to place obstacles that will damage American efforts to promote negotiations. The US must take swift action against this provocation."
On the other hand, the Prime Minister's Office on Sunday night clarified that the demolition and development plan in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan was in a "very initial stage" and that its final approval would require many discussions. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his hope that all sides would reach "an acceptable solution guaranteeing that the law will be honored."
The plan's approval by the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee on Sunday sparked a row, just two weeks before Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with US President Barack Obama.
This is a very initial procedure," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. "The plan will face discussions and objections both at the municipality's local committee and at the Interior Ministry's district committee, where the residents' stand will be presented."