The Palestinian Authority (PA) has asked for an urgent UN Security Council meeting to debate the illegal expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday instructed the Palestinian delegate to the United Nations to request an urgent session of the Security Council to discuss the controversial issue of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories after Tel Aviv approved the construction of 1,300 new settler units in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
"Something must be done on the international level to halt the settlement expansion which Tel Aviv is undertaking in the West Bank, including al-Quds," said Nabil Abu Rdainah, the spokesman for Abbas.
Palestinians believe that the expansion of Jewish settlements on their occupied lands will make the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip impossible.
The latest Israeli plan regarding settlements sparked a furious reaction from the Palestinians and drew condemnation from the international community. US President Barack Obama criticized Tel Aviv over the plan, saying Israeli settlement building was "never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations."
In response to the new Israeli plan, Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat on Tuesday called for immediate recognition of the Palestinian state [based] on the 4 June 1967 borders.
Details of the new Israeli plan to build some 1,300 new settlement units in Har Homa and Ramot neighborhoods emerged on Monday — a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Washington to discuss resumption of direct talks with the PA.
The new round of direct negotiations between Israel and the PA started in Washington in September after a 20-month hiatus.
However, the talks reached a deadlock after Israel refused to meet the Palestinian side’s demand for extending the partial settlement freeze in the West Bank and resumed its illegal construction work hours after the expiry of the 10-month moratorium.
Israel’s cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser said on Wednesday that the construction process in al-Quds would never stop.
"There has never been a freeze on construction in Jerusalem and there never will be such a freeze," Zvi Hauser told public radio.
Moreover, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that the construction policies have not changed for the past 40 years.
"Jerusalem is not a settlement — Jerusalem is the capital of… Israel," it said, adding that Israel had never stopped construction in the city since occupying it after the 1967 war.