Presidency condemns Israel's announcement to build 272 settler homes
Palestinian children look at bungalows built by Israeli settlers on seized land, near the West Bank city of Birzeit on December 3, 2013. [AFP]
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Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh on Tuesday condemned Israel's recent announcement to build 272 settler homes in the occupied West Bank.
"Whenever US secretary of state John Kerry intensifies his efforts to push the peace process forward, Israel seeks to destroy these efforts through its decisions and its ongoing settlement activities," Abu Rudeineh said, according to official news agency Wafa.
He also condemned remarks by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday about maintaining all illegal settlements in Hebron, the largest Palestinian city by population, and Beit El, located just north of Ramallah.
Earlier, Palestinian National Initiative general-secretary Mustafa Barghouthi said Israel is using negotiations as a cover to continue settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
Israel's recent approval of 272 new settlement homes shows the true face of an Israeli government which refuses the idea of Palestinian sovereignty and is only seeking to buy time to impose certain realities on the ground, the independent Palestinian MP said.
The proper response to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claims that Hebron and Beit El settlements are a vital part of Israel is through escalating popular resistance, going to the United Nations, and increasing calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions, he added.
Netanyahu told members of his Likud party on Monday that he did not intend to dismantle settlements in the West bank as part of peace talks with the Palestinians, the private Israeli television station Channel 10 reported.
Asked by party hardliners about any possible concessions in the talks, Netanyahu said he would make no "territorial concession" in the Jordan Valley, the occupied West Bank or in annexed East Jerusalem, the station reported.
Kerry left Israel on Monday after his tenth trip to the region since last March, insisting progress had been made despite failing to reach a framework to guide Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.