Palestinians denounce settlement expansion bids, call for peaceful resistance

14:01, July 19, 2011      

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by Emad Drimly, Saud Abu Ramadan

The Palestinians on Monday condemned an Israeli government decision to put out bids to build 336 apartments in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and called for increasing what they termed "the peaceful popular resistance to stop settlement."

The decision by Israeli housing ministry "is completely denounced and rejected," Nabil Abu Rdeineh, spokesman of the Palestinian Presidency said in a statement carried by the state- run "Wafa" news agency, adding "this is a motive for the Palestinians to approach the United Nations."

The Palestinian leadership is determined to approach the UN in September to demand an international recognition of an independent Palestinian state established on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. The Palestinian determination was made after Israel refused to stop expansion of settlement.

"All the new Israeli decisions to expand settlements and all the policies of this Israeli government towards the continuation of settlement expansion on the occupied Palestinian territories are totally rejected and we can never accept it because basically, settlement is illegal," said Abu Rdeineh.

He added that "these policies and decisions of this government is another reason that would urge us to apply to the UN and the security council to demand the recognition of the Palestinian state and gain a full membership in the organization."

"The international community has to bear its responsibility and clearly declare its rejection to the Israeli policy of settlement, which not only harms the peace between the Arabs and the Palestinians in one hand and Israel on the other, but also would harm peace in the entire region," said the spokesman.

Earlier on Monday, Israel announced that it decided to put out bids to build 336 apartments in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which was considered as a new blow to international efforts to get the Israelis and the Palestinians back to peace talks after months of deadlock over settlement construction.

The Israeli Radio quoted Ariel Rosenberg, spokesman for the Ministry of Construction and Housing as saying that developers were being asked to compete to build 294 apartments in the settlement of Betar Illit and 42 apartments in Karnei Shomron settlement in the West Bank.

Due to disputes over the issue of settlement construction between Israel and the Palestinians, the Palestinians suspended the direct peace talks with Israel in October just one month after the talks were launched in Washington. The suspension of talks was made after Israel refused to stop settlement.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials on Monday called for an escalation of "peaceful and popular resistance" against the construction of the separation wall on the lands of the Palestinians in the West Bank as well as against the settlement construction, mainly in east Jerusalem.

The officials' call was made during a conference termed Palestine Conference for Popular Resistance held in the village of Badras near Ramallah in the West Bank. The conference focused on the achievements of the popular activities that were carried out over the past several months against the settlement.

"The popular protests against the wall and against the Israeli policy of settlement as well as the confiscation of lands beside the large international support in cooperation with international activists who had joined large protests, are good achievements," participants in the conference said.

Abdelrahim Mallouh, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), who was one of the participants in the conference said the Palestinians should keep their struggle on their lands in order to foil all the plans of Israel to force the Palestinians to leave their lands. Our struggle will make our state."

Jamal Muheisen, member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party central committee said the Palestinians should first reinforce their national unity, end division and implement the reconciliation agreement reached with the Islamic Hamas movement in Cairo on May 4.

"Ending division would unite Palestinian people to be able to face the coming period, continue with their peaceful struggle until the Israeli occupation is ended and the Palestinian state is established," said Muheisen, referring to the weekly protests against the wall and the expansion of settlement.

Source: Xinhua
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