RAMALLAH, West Bank – The
Western-backed Palestinian Authority on Monday condemned Israeli plans
to build new homes for settlers in east Jerusalem and said they were
incompatible with peace efforts.
"The Palestinian Authority
strongly condemns the new decision to build in east Jerusalem and
wonders whether there is a freeze of settlement activity or an
intensification of it," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told
"The American administration needs to realise that the
policies of the Israeli government embody settlements and not peace and
that their choice is settlements and not peace," he added.
Channel 10 television reported Sunday that Israel has invited tenders
for the building of some 692 new homes in three settlements in mostly
Arab east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians have demanded as the
capital of their promised state.
There are already some 200,000
Jewish settlers living alongside 270,000 Arab residents in east
Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed
later in a move not recognised by the international community.
Palestinians have refused to restart peace negotiations suspended a
year ago during the Gaza war unless Israel halts all settlement
activity in the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem.
has agreed to a 10-month moratorium on building starts in the West Bank
excluding public buildings and projects already underway. The partial
freeze does not include east Jerusalem.
On November 16, Israel
gave its approval for 900 new housing units in another east Jerusalem
settlement in a move that drew a strong rebuke from its US ally, which
has been pressing both sides to restart peace talks.