Palestinians slam Israel’s new settlement projects in East Jerusalem


Palestinian Foreign Ministry slammed on Sunday a new Israeli plan to expand settlements in East Jerusalem, calling it part of “a plan to change the reality of the city.”
“The ministry condemns, in the strongest terms, the unprecedented escalation of settlements construction along the occupied Palestinian territory and in Jerusalem,” said the statement.
The ministry said it believed that the US declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has encouraged the Israeli government to accelerate their attempt to resolve the future of Jerusalem.
The statement came against the backdrop of a new Israeli announcement to build 11 settlement projects in Jerusalem, supported and funded by the Israeli government and the Jerusalem municipality.
The ministry said that the move “constitutes a fundamental threat to the chances of achieving a just and viable peace based on the principle of a two-state solution.”
It also urged the UN Security Council to hold up its responsibilities towards the Palestinians, and to “act swiftly and effectively to implement its relevant resolutions, thus protecting the peace process and the chances of achieving it.”
The ministry’s statement specifically called on US President Donald Trump to preserve the opportunity of achieving peace provided by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Security Council, and to adopt a peace process through international meetings which would give rise to a continuous multilateral negotiations.
The last round of US-sponsored negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel was in March 2014 after nine months of talks without achieving any breakthrough.
On Dec. 6, 2017, almost one year after Trump took office, he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ordered the US state department to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the city.
As a result, the Palestinians disqualified the United States from being the sole sponsor of the peace negotiations with Israel and called for a multilateral peace mechanism.
On Feb. 20, Abbas presented a peace initiative in a speech before the UN Security Council, proposing to hold an international peace conference in mid-2018 to jumpstart final status negotiation based on two-state solution and international legitimacy resolutions.