RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinians will ask the U.N. Security Council to call for an Israeli settlement freeze, President Mahmoud Abbas and his advisers decided Tuesday, as part of an escalating showdown over Israel’s new plans to build thousands more homes on war-won land in and around Jerusalem.
Such construction will destroy any lingering hopes of setting up a Palestinian state, Abbas aides warned.
The plans include 3,000 more homes for Jews in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, as well as preparations for construction of an especially sensitive project near Jerusalem, known as E-1.
Israeli settlement construction lies at the heart of a four-year breakdown in peace talks, and was a major factor behind the Palestinians’ U.N. statehood bid. Since 1967, half a million Israelis have settled in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The Israeli plans for Jerusalem and nearby West Bank areas “are the most dangerous in the history of settlement expansion and apartheid,” Abbas and senior members of the PLO and his Fatah movement said in a statement after a meeting Tuesday evening.
Israel has rebuffed the international criticism, which put it at odds with some of its strongest foreign allies, including Australia.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that construction plans would move forward, particularly in east Jerusalem and nearby West Bank settlements. “Israel makes decisions according to its national interests, and not in order to punish, fight or confront,” he said.
Printed on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 as: Palestinians to ask for building freeze