World Bulletin/News Desk
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Wednesday insisted that Israel must halt all construction of Jewish-only settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"Israel must stop building settlements in all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem," Erekat said in exclusive statements to Anadolu Agency.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday ordered a halt to – and a review of – plans to build 20,000 new settlement housing units in the West Bank.
The US condemned Israel's recent announcement that it planned to build more West Bank settlements, demanding clarifications from the Israeli government.
"We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity," US State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said Tuesday.
Erekat said that the fresh settlement drive would have undermined peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
"Such actions threaten the peace process," he told AA.
"The announcement could have threatened [US Secretary of State] John Kerry's effort in the Middle East," the negotiator added.
President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday threatened to declare the peace process over unless Israel called off the controversial plan.
He went on to call for an urgent meeting to discuss the issue.
"The president will be back from Cairo today and the meeting will be held this evening," Erekat said.
"We will discuss and examine all the options that we have," he added, suggesting that the Palestinians could seek recourse with the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice.
The UN considers all Jewish settlements built on occupied Palestinian territory illegal.
Following a three-year hiatus, the Palestinian Authority and Israel resumed peace talks in July in hopes of reaching a comprehensive final-status agreement.
Talks between the two sides generally take place behind closed doors, with results of negotiations seldom divulged to the media.Last Mod: 13 Kasım 2013, 13:21