PNA calls for world pressure on Israel to stop settlement

10:44, March 16, 2010      

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The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) cabinet on Monday urged the international community to exert pressure on Israel to halt all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.

"The international community has to carry out practical measures that commit Israel to stop all its settlement activities in order to have a possibility to achieve progress in the peace process," the PNA cabinet said in a statement.

The cabinet, which held its weekly meeting chaired by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah in the West Bank, welcomed the international stances, mainly the United States, which condemned the Israeli settlement activities.

Last week, the right-wing Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to build hundreds of new housing units in settlements in occupied east Jerusalem. The decision outraged the Palestinians.

The cabinet also condemned the Israeli closure of two West Bank villages of Bel'ein and N'elien, west of Ramallah, which aimed at preventing the weekly popular protest against the separation barrier Israel is building in the territory.

The cabinet also considered the Israeli practices of barring the Palestinian worshippers from reaching al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem as "oppressive" that contradict with the international laws.

"According to the law, the Palestinian people have the right to resist peacefully the Israeli measures and practices as well as settlement activities and the construction of the wall,' said the cabinet's statement.

Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Monday that "Netanyahu's statements over his government's determination to continue settlement construction in Jerusalem are so provocative."

"Such actions show the contradiction with Netanyahu's apology to the United States over his government's decision to build 1,600 units in east Jerusalem during the visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden," Erekat told Xinhua.

Asked about the Palestinian position concerning the resumption of the proximity talks with Israel, Erekat said "We are still waiting for the U.S. to commit Israel to call off its decision of expanding settlements in Jerusalem."

Islamic Hamas movement officials in Gaza said that Netanyahu's statements "are a challenge to the Arabs and Moslems and neglect the calls to stop settlement under the pretext of resuming the absurd talks."

Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza told Xinhua that the statement of Netanyahu to keep construction of settlements in Jerusalem "is a slap on the face of Mahmoud Abbas and his team that are bargaining on the indirect talks."

"Netanyahu sends a message to all those who approved the indirect talks, mainly the Palestinians and the Arab League that they should get back to their minds and give a free hand to the Palestinian resistance," said Radwan.

Source: Xinhua
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