PA Urges Quartet to Stop Settlement Expansion

The Palestinian Authority’s ministry of foreign affairs on Thursday urged the international Quartet to immediately bring to an end all illegal Israeli settlement activities.

In a statement, the ministry called upon local, regional and international bodies to document Israel’s settlement expansion “which is against international law and the Geneva conventions.”

Documentation, added the statement, will be used in possible legal procedures against Israel at international level.

The statement pointed out that settlement expansion would eventually foil peace efforts, and it urged the United States, which is sponsoring peace negotiations, to take a firm position.

The statement came in response to Israel’s intensification of settlement expansion shortly after the Palestinian leadership agreed to resume peace talks with Israel under US pressure on both sides.

Israel has put into effect an absentee property law on Jerusalem which Palestinians call an indirect way to confiscate lands under the pretext that its direct owners are living outside Jerusalem.

Other draft laws such as a so-called earthquake law have been recently approved.

On the ground, meanwhile, the Israeli government announced bids to build more than 2,000 settlement units in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Simultaneously, Israeli forces have been demolishing dozens of Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem and in the Jordan Valley and evacuated hundreds of Palestinians.

Peace talks broke down in 2010 over Israel’s refusal to stop building settlements on Palestinian land.

Under US pressure, Israel and the Palestinians resumed peace talks in August after Israel agreed to release long-term prisoners, but it did not agree to pause settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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