Erekat: New settler homes 'sabotage peace moves'

Erekat: New settler homes 'sabotage peace moves'

Israel has signed off on plans for nearly 300 new settler homes near Ramallah, angering the Palestinians who accused the Israeli government Thursday of trying to "sabotage" US moves to rekindle peace talks Maan reported.

The announcement came just days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly ordered a freeze on tenders for new West Bank settler homes to avoid harming efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to bring both sides back to the negotiating table.

"The Civil Administration has given the green light for 296 housing units at Beit El," said the spokesman for a defense ministry unit which administers the West Bank.

He said the plan was announced last year as a compensatory measure after the government ordered the evacuation of the unauthorized Ulpana outpost on the outskirts of Beit El.

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said the move sent a clear message to Washington that Israel was not interested in resuming the direct talks, frozen in 2010.

"We condemn this new decision which is proof that the Israeli government wants to sabotage and ruin the US administration's efforts to revive the peace process," he told AFP.

"This is a message to the American administration and a blow to the peace process," he said, suggesting it would drag the region towards violence rather than peace.

But his Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, sought to play down the development, news of which reached her as she was meeting Kerry in Rome on Wednesday afternoon.

"There is no need for this to become a pretext for drama or anger," she told army radio, saying she had updated the Americans about the development.

"They listened and they understood, and for the moment, there is no reaction."

Kerry said on Wednesday he would make his fourth trip to Israel and Palestine on May 21 or 22 for talks with Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hagit Ofran of Israel's Peace Now settlement watchdog, who on Wednesday had confirmed that no new tenders had been issued since the start of the year, lashed out at the announcement, accusing Netanyahu of playing a double game.

"This initiative proves Netanyahu is deceiving the world," she told AFP.

"On the one hand, he lets us believe that he is putting the brakes on settlement and on the other, he gives the go-ahead for an enormous building project."

Earlier this week, senior Israeli officials quoted by Haaretz newspaper said Netanyahu had promised Kerry he would "rein in" settlement construction in both the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem until mid-June in light of US efforts to renew negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

In parallel, the PLO agreed to suspend for two months all efforts to seek international recognition.

Peace Now said Netanyahu's reported freeze would apply only to larger settlements as the procedure of issuing tenders was not necessary for construction in smaller settlements such as Beit El.

Beit El, which so far has 900 units, is located on the northern outskirts of Ramallah in an area that would not be annexed to Israel under any future peace agreement.

Ofran said the plan would increase the size of Beit El by a third, with construction likely to start "in about a year's time."

According to the Walla! news website, the plan was approved two weeks ago by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, an open supporter of settlement construction who will have to approve every additional stage of the planning process.

It also said Yaalon had met settler leaders on Wednesday over the reported tender freeze and explained that the US pressure to demonstrate restraint would probably continue until June.

The meeting evidently went well, with settler leader Avi Roeh expressing confidence that "the new spirit in the defense ministry will strengthen Israel and the settlements in particular," Walla! reported.

Direct peace talks collapsed shortly after they were launched in September 2010 because of an intractable dispute over Israel's settlement building, which is widely accepted as a violation of international law.

The PLO say it will not return to negotiations unless Israel freezes construction on occupied Palestinian land.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Azerbaijan interested in Turkish "Hürkuş" trainer aircraft - Turkish Defense Industry
Azerbaijan interested in Turkish "Hürkuş" trainer aircraft - Turkish Defense Industry
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry presents weekly review (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry presents weekly review (VIDEO)
Body of another Armenian serviceman found in Azerbaijan's Khojavand
Body of another Armenian serviceman found in Azerbaijan's Khojavand
Loading Bars
Latest
Azerbaijani currency rates for December 6
Iran hopes to raise local car manufacturing
Iranian currency rates for December 6
CAMEX International launches cargo airline in Georgia
Overall index of the Tehran Stock Exchange drops on December 5
Turkey reveals cargo traffic via its ports from US for 10M2021
Azerbaijan shows footage from Kalbajar's liberated Kechiligaya village (VIDEO)
Uzbekistan shares domestic COVID-19 data for December 5
Turkey discloses number of docking ships at Bandirma port for 10M2021
Azerbaijan discloses turnover of investment companies for 11M2021
Uzbek Direct Investment Fund and South Korean company co-op to attract investments
Cargo movements in Iran’s Bushehr port up
Iran shares data on exports via customs of Semnan Province
Azerbaijan interested in Turkish "Hürkuş" trainer aircraft - Turkish Defense Industry
Cargo transportation via Iran's Kerman International Airport soars
IRICA reveals data on Iran’s saffron exports
Weekly review of Azerbaijani oil prices
Poor weather hampers search and rescue efforts at Indonesia volcano
S.Korean president's approval rating rises to 40.5 pct: poll
Iran's trade turnover with Azerbaijan booming - IRICA
Kazakhstan adds 632 new daily cases of COVID-19
Bob Dole, longtime U.S. senator, presidential candidate, dies at 98
Hamilton wins wild Saudi GP to set up F1 title showdown
Turkey confirms 19,357 daily COVID-19 cases
Islamic State fighters kill five in attack near northern Iraqi village
Omicron cases in UK rise by 50 pct in one day
Twelve Niger soldiers killed in clashes with militants
China donates Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to Somalia
Cases of Omicron variant rise to 11 in Israel
Fire rages on cargo ship carrying timber off Sweden
Germany plans to make vaccination compulsory for some jobs
Number of Turkish citizens seeking job in Georgia notably grows
German companies sign contracts with Azerbaijan in railway construction
Erdogan-Al Thani meeting to boost Turkey-Qatar ties: Ambassador
Myanmar court to give first rulings in Suu Kyi trial
Erdogan to chair Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee in Doha
Iran stresses need for long-term cooperation with Kyrgyzstan
35.6% of Georgian adult population fully vaccinated
Indonesia Semeru volcanic eruption kills 14; dozens injured
Three skiers killed and two injured in Austria avalanche
Uzbekistan shares data on interest expenses of banking sector
Flights from Iran’s Abadan International Airport increasing
Germany's Free Democrats back coalition agreement
Arab Coalition destroys 14 vehicles, kills more than 115 Houthis
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to rise
Kyrgyz Cabinet aims to increase share of electric vehicles in country
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,394 more COVID-19 cases, 1,791 recoveries
Kazakhstan increases petroleum oil exports to France
Volume of cargo loaded/unloaded in Iran’s Bandar Lengeh port decreases
Iran boosts aluminum ingots production
COVID-19: 11 areas of Kazakhstan in ‘green zone’
Cargo train services launch between Georgia, China
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for December 5
Turkey, Italy work together for regional peace, stability: FM
Tripartite deal to solve main part of Iran’s gas problem - Chief of Staff of Iranian President
Oil production on Turkmen Cheleken peninsula exceeds planned volume
State Customs Committee discloses TOP-5 trade partners of Azerbaijan
State Customs Committee reveals trade turnover between Azerbaijan and China
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry presents weekly review (VIDEO)
Georgia reports 3,410 coronavirus cases, 4,732 recoveries, 46 deaths
At least 14 civilians mistakenly killed by Indian forces in remote northeast
Iranian currency rates for December 5
Kyrgyzstan confirms 42 new COVID-19 cases
New Year budget to depend on activities’ scale - Tbilisi Mayor
Iran’s SPGC shares data on production of its fifth refinery
Baku International Sea Trade Port unveils cargo transshipment for 10M2021
Pakistan receives $3 billion loan from Saudi Arabia
VISA open to co-op with all key players in Azerbaijan’s transport sector (Exclusive)
6.1-magnitude earthquake rattles southern Philippines
Soyuz-ST-B with 2 Galileo satellites launched from Kourou spaceport
Dutch former queen Beatrix tests positive for COVID-19
10 mln French have received COVID-19 booster shots: minister
Iran abandoned any compromises in latest nuclear talks - U.S.
Chile reports first case of Omicron variant
White House confirms plans of holding video call between Biden and Putin on December 7
Vienna talks on Iran nuclear deal to resume next week - Russian Foreign Ministry
1 killed, 40 injured following volcanic eruption in Indonesia
Body of another Armenian serviceman found in Azerbaijan's Khojavand
Bitcoin tumbles 9.95% to $48,397.56
Passenger transportation via Iran's Kermanshah International Airport declines
UK records another 42,848 coronavirus cases
Explosion occurred near Iran's nuclear facility
Azerbaijan hands over to Armenia body of saboteur neutralized in attack on Azerbaijani serviceman in Khojavand
Azerbaijan talks entreprises to be commissioned at Aghdam Industrial Park
Major terrorist attack against rally with Erdogan's participation prevented in Turkey
Great number of EU, NATO countries interested in Turkish drones - Cavushoglu
Georgian PM meets with President of FIBA Europe
OSCE MG ready to host meeting between Azerbaijani and Armenian FMs
Value of Azerbaijan's export to US surges for 10M2021
Prices on several main food products in Kazakhstan continue to lower
Agrarian sector of ‘smart village’ in Azerbaijan’s Zangilan to be combined modern urban planning – minister
Azerbaijan discloses project cost of agropark in Yevlakh (PHOTO)
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange down
Saudi Arabia, France agree to strengthen cooperation
Biden, Putin to hold video call on Tuesday
India, Australia are natural economic partners, says Tony Abbott
Azerbaijan receives mine maps of its territories liberated from Armenian occupation
Erdogan discusses humanitarian aid with Red Crescent, Red Cross
Uzbekistan intends to increase dried fruit exports to China
All news