Erekat on Israel settlement announcement: "Message to Kerry to stop push for peace"
Palestine's top negotiator for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks said that Israel's settlement announcement Friday is a message to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to not come back to the region to push for peace, according to Agence France-Presse.
Negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP that "The new settlement construction plan is a message from (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu to Kerry not to come back to the region to continue his efforts in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Every time Kerry has stepped up his efforts, returning to the region (for more talks), Netanyahu has stepped up his efforts to destroy the peace process."
The peace talks resumed in July under Kerry's push to restart the negotiations after 2010 talks ended in stalemate, and the U.S. leader made his last visit to the region during the first week of January in his latest push for peace between Israelis and Palestinian to reach a peace deal within a 9-month timeframe.
However, Israel's continued settlement construction in the Palestinian territories, with the Jewish state's housing ministry announcing the latest bid Friday to build over 1800 new houses, have placed the talks on very shaky grounds.
"Netanyahu is determined to destroy the two-state solution, [and] it is high time we held Israel accountable for its crimes," Erekat added.