PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said Thursday that Israel is using peace negotiations as a “cover” to continue building illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
“Israel is using negotiations as a political and legal cover to escalate its settlement activities in and around Jerusalem and to evade accountability,” Ashrawi said in a statement Thursday.
“Such unilateral actions constitute a deliberate attempt to destroy any chances of peace and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
The PLO official made the comments during a meeting with British Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Simon Fraser, Director of Near East and North Africa of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, David Quarrey, and British Consul General, Sir Vincent Finn, in East Jerusalem on Tuesday.
The meeting discussed the status of peace negotiations and the launch of a British-Palestinian dialogue to strengthen bilateral relations.
On Wednesday, Ashrawi met with newly appointed French Consul General, Hervé Magro, at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah.
During the meeting she called on Israel to cease all settlement activities and “adhere to signed agreements and conventions, terms of reference and international and humanitarian law.”
“We are witnessing the end of the two-state solution, and if Israel is not held to account, chances of peace and stability in the region will be destroyed indefinitely,” Ashrawi added.
The PLO negotiating team resigned last week in protest against continued Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
Following mediation by Washington, direct talks resumed in July after a three-year hiatus that was due primarily to Palestinian refusal to talk while settlement expansion continued.
Since then Israel has announced plans to build thousands of new settler homes in the occupied West Bank.
(Ma’an – www.maannews.com)