Erekat: Israel bears full responsibility
Photo: AFP
Aboul Gheit: Arabs will study other options
Photo: AP

Erekat: Israel choosing settlements over talks

Chief Palestinian negotiator demands US, EU blame Israel for 'collapse of direct peace talks' after government approves new east Jerusalem homes; Egypt's foreign minister says Arabs may seek UN recognition of Palestinian state

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat inveighed against Israel's approval of hundreds of new Jewish homes in east Jerusalem, accusing the government of "bearing full responsibility for the collapse of direct peace negotiations".


On Thursday night, the government announced it had approved the building of 238 homes in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, ending a nearly yearlong, unofficial freeze on new building there.


During a meeting with diplomats, Erekat demanded that the US and EU increase pressure on Israel and deem the state responsible for the collapse of peace talks.


The new construction "proves the Israelis have chosen the path of the settlements and not of negotiations, and this will lead to a dead end", he said.


In addition to the construction, Erekat accused Israel of creating "an atmosphere not conducive to peace talks", citing "the recent targeted killings, raids on Palestinian towns, and arrests".


Erekat also called on the US and Israel to recognize a Palestinian state with borders coinciding with those that existed before the 1967 war and Jerusalem as its capital, and stressed that there is no law prohibiting the Palestinians from declaring independence.


Earlier and on the same note, Egypt's foreign minister said Arab nations may seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state if Israel continues to build settlements in the West Bank.


Ahmed Aboul Gheit said an Arab League request to the UN may come next month.


"If Israel does not respect the settlements freeze," Gheit said, "the Arab League will study some other option aside from the peace process such as going to the United Nations and ask for the recognition of the Palestinian state."


Gheit spoke as he arrived at a Friends of Democratic Pakistan meeting in Brussels. The group is made up of two dozen nations and international institutions committed to stabilize Pakistan with long-term economic support.


US-sponsored, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed last month after a hiatus of nearly two years. But they already have run aground over Israel's refusal to renew a moratorium on West Bank settlement construction.



פרסום ראשון: 10.15.10, 10:50
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