Palestinians threaten international legal action over Israeli settlement construction

The Palestinian Authority announced Thursday that it was “seriously studying” filing immediate complaints against Israel with international courts and forums in a bid to halt construction in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

The PA Foreign Ministry said that the complaints would be designed to “preserve peace and the negotiations” with Israel. The ministry said that the PA was seeking a condemnation of Israel for violating international law.
Strongly condemning recent decisions by the Israeli Government to build new housing units in settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods, the ministry called on the international community, especially the US and UN, to do more than issue denunciations of Israel.

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“Israel is seeking to destroy the two-state solution and undermine any effort to ensure the success of the peace negotiations,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “We call on the international community to take action and measures to put a decisive end to settlement and relate to it as a war crime.”

PLO officials on Thursday similarly called for halting the peace talks with Israel in response to continued settlement construction and Israeli “raids and assassinations” in the West Bank.

The officials called for an “overall national strategic revolution” that would see Palestinians going to international agencies and the UN Security Council to take measures against Israel.
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PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef told the Ramallah-based Wattan TV station that there was no point in pursuing the peace talks while Israel was continuing with its policy of settlement and “Judaization” of Jerusalem.

Another committee member, Tayseer Khaled, called for a “clear position” by the Palestinian leadership toward the peace talks. “We need to decide why are the peace talks continuing at a time when [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu is undermining the two-state solution on the ground,” he said.

The PA also called on Arabs and Muslims to take immediate action to stop and prevent the expansion of settlements in order to safeguard the two-state solution.

The PA dismissed “any attempt” by Netanyahu to establish a linkage between settlement construction and the release of Palestinian prisoners. “These attempts are lies and misleading,” the statement charged. “Settlement construction has continued since 1967, with and without the release of prisoners.”
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PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi also strongly condemned Israel’s decision to build new housing units over the pre-1967 lines.

She said that the recent decision to build new housing units was the “latest humiliation” to US Secretary of State John Kerry and the efforts of the US Administration to revive the peace process.

“These dangerous [Israeli] policies could destroy the prospects for peace and instigate violence and extremism in the entire region,” Ashrawi said. “The Israeli occupation is exposing its real intentions of creating the Great Israel instead of being committed to the two-state solution.”
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The Israeli government, she added, has once again proved that Israel is not a peace partner or a member of the international community that respects the sovereignty of international law.”

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