Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Israel was seeking "to destroy the two-state option"
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat has accused Israel of rejecting a Quartet proposal for new peace talks by approving 1,100 new homes in an east Jerusalem settlement neighbourhood. © Abbas Momani - AFP/File
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Israel was seeking
AFP
Last updated: September 28, 2011

Erakat: Israel settler homes plan is Quartet snub

The Palestinians on Tuesday accused Israel of rejecting a Quartet proposal for new peace talks by approving 1,100 new homes in an east Jerusalem settlement neighbourhood.

"With this, Israel is responding to the Quartet's statement with 1,100 'no's," Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP, shortly after the Israeli interior ministry said it had approved the planned new homes.

The international peacemaking Quartet on Friday called on Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table within a month, with the goal of reaching a deal within a year.

They made the proposal shortly after the Palestinians formally submitted their bid for full state membership of the United Nations, over the objections of Israel and the United States.

In a statement, the interior ministry said its district planning committee had given approval for the planned homes in the neighbourhood of Gilo, in the southern sector of east Jerusalem.

The project would be open for public comment for 60 days before going back to the committee for final approval, the ministry said.

Erakat lashed out at the Israeli government, saying it was seeking "to destroy the two-state option with its settlement projects and occupation measures.

"We believe that Israel has today responded to the Quartet statement, which called for a halt to unilateral actions by both sides," he said, adding Israel was effectively saying: "We have chosen settlements instead of peace."

Erakat said the approval should be a wake-up call for countries that have opposed the Palestinian bid for UN membership.

"The only way to peace and the implementation of the two-state solution is to support the Palestinian attempt to obtain full membership" at the United Nations, he said.

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