Israel settlement expansions create tensions

UN and even key ally US criticised the Israel settlement expansions.

Israel settlement expansions create tensions
UN boss Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned at Israel's decision to build 884 more buildings in occupied Jerusalem, which is contrary to international law, his press office said Monday in a statement.

"The secretary general is deeply concerned at the recent announcement by the Israeli government to invite new tenders for construction in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem," the statement added.

"The government of Israel's continued construction in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory is contrary to international law and to its commitments under the roadmap and the Annapolis process," it said.

Drafted by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, the roadmap for Middle East peace calls for a halt to Jewish settlement expansions in Palestinian territories.

US critisizm

Even key ally Washington criticised the Israel settlements expansions.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said we don't believe that any more settlements should be built because it exacerbates the tensions when it comes to the negotiations with the Palestinians."

After the meeting between Abbas and Olmert, Palestinian senior negotiator Saeb Erakat told reporters that the Israeli settlement expansion plans were threatening US-backed plans to reach a peace deal by the end of the year.

"Israel must adhere to what it agreed to at Annapolis to stop all settlement activity," Erakat said.

"We want to reach a peace agreement before the end of 2008 but there is this continuing Israeli contradiction between pursuing the peace process and imposing facts on the ground."

Also Hamas movement which has controlled the Gaza Strip called the talks "a farce."

Hamas, which won an victory in 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, accused Abbas of lending legitimacy to the Israeli settlements by meeting Olmert one day after the new projects were announced.

Illegal control

Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that Israel would retain "permanent sovereignty" over Jerusalem as his country commemorated its 1967 occupation of the city's Arab eastern sector.

His comments came as he prepared to head for talks in Washington amid U.S. and U.N. criticism of his government's plans to expand Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem.

Israeli "sovereignty" over historic and holy Jerusalem will last for eternity, Olmert said in a Jerusalem Day speech.

"After thousands of years, Jerusalem resumed its position as the center for the Jewish people. It's a return that is not going to be thrown into question."

Israel occupied east Jerusalem on June 7, 1967. Monday was the anniversary according to the Jewish calendar.

In 1980, Israel adopted a basic law making the city its "eternal, undivided capital" but the move has never been recognized by the international community because all settlements on occupied Palestinian land are illegal.

The Israeli premier has been seriously weakened at home by a string of corruption allegations, the latest of which sparked calls for his resignation even from within his own governing coalition.

Olmert, 62, is accused of unlawfully accepting large sums of money from a US millionaire before becoming premier in 2006.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Haziran 2008, 13:03