The Palestinians are demanding urgent action by the UN Security Council and the international community to halt Israel's "illegal settlement campaign."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that he is determined to block the settlement building near Jerusalem with all legal and diplomatic means at his disposal.
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"The settlement plans that Israel announced, especially E1, are a red line," Abbas said, adding that "this must not happen."
Palestinian Charge d'Affaires Feda Abdelhady Nasser said in letters Wednesday to the council, the General Assembly and the secretary-general that the intensification of the Israeli campaign is clearly part of "Israel's contemptuous response" to the assembly's overwhelming vote last week to recognize the state of Palestine.
Contested E1 area (Photo: AFP)
She said Israel's settlement campaign "is directly impacting the prospects for attaining peace and security in the Middle East."
The Palestinians called on the council and the Quartet of Mideast mediators – the US, UN, European Union and Russia – "to act immediately to demand an end to Israel's illegal activities and to salvage the prospects for reviving credible peace negotiations."
'PA reserve right to appeal to Hague'
Jibril Rajoub, former head of the Preventive Security Force in the West Bank and a senior Fatah official, reiterated Abbas' statement saying that the Palestinian Authority reserves the right to use any and all means available to it following their UN status upgrade, to ward off "the Israeli aggression."
"We never promised anyone that we won’t join international organizations. We will use all means at our disposal to counter Israel's challenges and aggression, including the settlements," he said.
"We will decide if and when to go to the ICC. We will decide when the time is right. It could be today. It could be tomorrow," he said.
Rajoub noted that Ramallah was conferring on the matter with various Arab nations, but did not say which ones.
"Why are the Israelis so afraid of the ICC?" he wondered. "Only criminals are afraid of court. Are you war criminals? If you are – you have a cause for concern; but if you aren’t – why are you worried?"
According to the Palestinian official, if Israel resumes the peace negotiations based on the UN resolution, the PA would have no reason to turn to The Hague.
'Aggressive rhetoric counterproductive'
Also Wednesday, Washington urged Jerusalem and Ramallah to cease their "war of words."
State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters that "The war of words of reciprocal actions isn't getting us any closer to where we need to be."
The United States, he said, "Calls on both sides to consider their next steps and where they want to be as they consider the path ahead, and that's that true peace can only be reached through the negotiating table. So where we're at now is not getting us any closer.
"Both parties need to stand down and take steps towards getting back to the negotiating table."
Yitzhak Benhorin, in Washington, and AP contributed to this report
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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