Palestinians Say Israeli Move Could Kill Peace Process



<!-- IMAGE -->

Palestinian leaders are warning Israel that its approval of 900 new housing units in a disputed area of Jerusalem may kill the peace process. The warning came after the United States condemned the Israeli decision. The Palestinians want Washington to toughen its approach on Israel.

The response from Palestinian officials contained no surprises after Israel said this week it would go ahead with construction of 900 new units in Gilo, a Jewish community in East Jerusalem. 

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told VOA the action threatens to kill the peace process.

"This is a clear decision and a clear message, not just for Palestinains but for the American administration itself that Israel is not willing and is not ready to stop settlement activities and much more important than this, that they are not ready for peace," said Rudeineh.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. 

The planned construction is on lands that Israel captured as part of its victory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.  The Jewish state later formally annexed East Jerusalem in a move that was not recognized by the international community.

The Israeli Prime Minister's office is not commenting on the plans for expansion, but a statement on Tuesday said construction in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo is nothing new. It said Gilo is an integral part of Jerusalem and that building in the neighborhood has continued unabated for decades.

On Wednesday, President Abbas' spokesman, Abu Rudeineh welcomed President Obama's criticism of the plans for new construction in Gilo. However, he said Washington needs to go further and toughen its stance or risk ruining the peace process. 

"The Americans should take seriously what is going on," he added.  "The whole situation is deteriorating. The Americans this time should change their policy, the change which we have been promised by President Obama."

President Obama, in his speech to the Muslim world in June, called for Israel to stop settlement expansion in the West Bank and allow for the establishment of a Palestinian State. 

Washington, however, angered the Palestinians this month when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised what she said were Israel's concessions for peace.

Israel has offered to restrain construction on settlements in the West Bank, but has made no offers regarding construction in East Jerusalem. 

Israel considers all of Jerusalem its undivided capital.

Palestinians' frustration over the stalled peace process has been rising in recent weeks. President Abbas has threatened to resign, and his government says it is pushing unilaterally for the declaration of a Palestinian state.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that any such action will trigger unilateral steps from the Israeli side.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs