The Israeli government’s approval of some 1,200 Jewish settlement homes in occupied areas showed the country was “not serious” in efforts to negotiate peace, the Palestinians said on Sunday, only days before fresh talks are set to take place.
The Palestinians said Israel's new plans for settlement construction announced Sunday showed it was "not serious" in efforts to negotiate peace and urged Washington to intervene as sponsor of the talks.
The Israeli government approved late Sunday the release of 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners, an official statement said, ahead of renewed peace talks between the sides set for later this week.
"Following the government decision to renew peace talks with the Palestinians and appoint a ministerial committee to free prisoners during negotiations... the committee approved the release of 26 prisoners," a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office read.
The tenders for over 1,000 homes in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem were proof that Israel "was not serious in the negotiations," Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh said in a statement.
He charged that Israel "aims through this condensed settlement activity to destroy the basis of the solution called for by the international community, which aims to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders."
Shtayeh said the new tenders were "conditions and new facts on the ground" that Israel was setting in order "to determine the negotiations in whichever way suits it best."
The Palestinian negotiator called for Washington, sponsoring the talks, to take "a firm and clear position to rein in this Israeli attack on the West Bank and especially Jerusalem."
Israel's housing ministry said earlier it would be publishing tenders for 793 units in east Jerusalem and 394 elsewhere in the West Bank.
The US State Department said last week that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators would resume talks in Jerusalem on Wednesday on ending their decades-old conflict.
Date created : 2013-08-11