A top PLO member says Israel’s 10-month freeze in settlement activity in the West Bank is a cover for a dangerous plot to take over East Jerusalem Al-Quds.
Former Palestinian Authority prime minister Ahmed Qurei, who is a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), made the remarks on Wednesday during a meeting with Sheikh Raed Salah, head of Islamic movement in the occupied Palestine.
Qurei said that the Palestinians were not in favor of reviving the kind of peace talks that would be futile due to Tel Aviv’s failure to comply with the conditions set for talks. Instead, the Palestinians prefer to restore their rights through resistance to Israeli occupation, he added.
"Plans devised by [Israeli President] Shimon Peres, [Knesset Member and former defense minister] Shaul Mofaz and [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak, have put East Jerusalem Al-Quds in grave danger. The trio seek to exclude East Jerusalem Al-Quds from an Israeli pledge to freeze settlement construction in the occupied lands," Qurei said.
He also urged all Palestinian factions to come together to counter frequent Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and Tel Aviv’s Judaization campaign targeting the holy city of Jerusalem Al-Quds.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week announced that Israel has agreed to freeze all settlement activities, except in Jerusalem Al-Quds, for 10 months in a bid to re-launch stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
However, Palestinians refused the bid, saying unless Netanyahu freezes all settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem Al-Quds, the would not enter peace talks.
Tel Aviv is currently under intense pressure from the international community to halt the construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank. Israeli settlements are widely considered the main obstacle in the way of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Under the 2002 Roadmap for Peace plan brokered by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia, Israel is obliged to ‘dismantle settlement outposts erected since 2001 and freeze all settlement activities’.