For Immediate Release
December 4, 2007
Palestine Liberation Organization
Negotiations Affairs Department
Ramallah, occupied Palestinian territory
EREKAT CONDEMNS NEW TENDERS FOR HAR HOMA SETTLEMENT AS MAJOR VIOLATION OF ISRAELI ROAD MAP OBLIGATIONS
On 2 December 2007, less than one week after both Palestinian and Israeli leaders reaffirmed their commitment to fully implement their Road Map obligations at the Annapolis Conference, the Israel Land Administration (ILA) published tenders for the construction of 307 new housing units in the settlement of Har Homa (the Palestinian land of Jabal Abu Ghneim), located between Palestinian East Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
In a letter sent today to the Quartet, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat described the ILA’s action as a major violation of Israel’s obligations under the Road Map that undermines the entire political process.
In his letter, Dr. Erekat urged the United States, as the agreed judge in this process, to take all necessary steps to reverse this latest violation, as well as any future violations of the settlement freeze, including in the areas of construction, financing and incentives, planning, land confiscations and migration of new settlers.
Dr. Erekat stressed “the opportunity afforded to us at Annapolis will not come a second time. We therefore must seize this opportunity now, as the stakes are higher than they have ever been and the consequences of inaction are serious”.
Dr. Erekat concluded that “Israel’s ever-expanding settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory poses the single greatest threat to the establishment of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state, and hence, to a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians”.
The settlement of Har Homa was created in 1996 in breach of a previous Israeli commitment to the United States and is one of several key settlements designed to encircle Palestinian East Jerusalem and sever it from the rest of the West Bank. At that time, the start of construction of the settlement caused a serious disruption to the political negotiations.
For more information, please contact:
Negotiations Support Unit, Communications Department, Ramallah
+972 2 296 3741