RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A senior Fatah official said Sunday that Israel's decision to accelerate settlement building was further proof that the Israeli government is not interested in peace.
Israeli government officials unveiled on Friday plans to build 3,000 new settlement units and expedite building in the so-called E-1 area of the occupied West Bank, a day after Palestine was admitted to the UN as a non-member state.
Fahmi Al-Zaarer, deputy-head of Fatah's cabinet, said the move does not affect the UN resolution or weaken Palestine's position.
Increasing settlement construction is "proof that peace is only slogan for (Israel) in order to gain more time to confiscate further lands," al-Zaarer said.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was defiant on Sunday, saying that "Israel will continue building in Jerusalem and every place on the State of Israel's map of strategic interests," according to Israeli news site Ynet.
The United States, one of just eight countries to vote alongside Israel against the Palestinians at the UN General Assembly, had called the latest expansion plan "counterproductive," while France, which voted with the Palestinians, and Britain, which abstained, had tougher censure for Israel.
"If implemented, these plans would alter the situation on the ground on a scale that makes the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, increasingly difficult to achieve," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.
Hague's French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, spoke of E1 as "the new colonization zone" and said the Israeli expansion plan could "drain the confidence needed for a return to dialogue."