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Erekat: New Jerusalem homes further sabotage US effort for peace

Dec. 29, 2009 12:13 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 29, 2009 2:44 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Every home Israel builds is a resounding "No" to international efforts to foster peace between Israel and Palestinians, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat said in a statement on Monday.

Responding to Israel's latest announcement that a further 692 settlement units will be built in East Jerusalem, for which Palestinian land will be confiscated, Erekat called Israel's settlement moratorium a "mockery."

Israel has further sabotaged international efforts to resume permanent status negotiations, Erekat's statement said, noting the Sunday approval the additional units followed close on the heels of the decision to construct 900 units in Gilo, which came only days before Israel announced its partial moratorium on construction in West Bank settlements.

Construction continues in several West Bank settlements, however, despite the stop work orders delivered by the Israeli army.

“With each individual action it undertakes on the ground, Israel is saying no to meaningful negotiations, no to a just and lasting peace and no to the two-state solution. [The] announcement is further proof that this ‘policy of three no’s’ still dominates the decisions taken by the Israeli government," Erekat said.

“Every decision Israel takes to construct more illegal settlements makes a mockery of it’s so called ‘settlement moratorium’. If this is what Israel means by a settlement moratorium, then one can only wonder what Israel intends to do once that moratorium has expired."

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