Ma'an News Agency (Analysis)
October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

PLO official Saeb Erekat said on Monday that Israel is impeding the peace process and the Middle East Quartet should publicly recognize Israeli intransigence.

The former chief negotiator said on Voice of Palestine radio that the Palestinian side remains committed to all international guidelines and terms of the Quartet's roadmap for peace.

Israel, however, insists on publicly announcing new settlement plans and pays no attention to the guidelines of the peace process, Erekat said. He added that Israel is intentionally trying to "judaize" Jerusalem, to the detriment of the Palestinian population there.

"It is the Israeli occupation which is impeding peace and democracy," Erekat said in response to Quartet special envoy Tony Blair, who had earlier stated that the Arab Spring could cause instability in the region.

On Sunday, Blair urged both sides to show "clear commitments that both parties will produce comprehensive proposals on borders and security within 90 days."

The Quartet should not try to equate the Palestinians and Israelis when talking about commitment to the peace process, Erekat responded.

On Sept. 27, Israel approved the construction of 1,100 new homes in Gilo settlement, and in early October started building 11 units as part of a 300-home project in Pisgat Zeev settlement, both in East Jerusalem.

An Israeli peace group also revealed in October that Israel has formally submitted plans to build 2,610 homes near Gilo, including new neighborhood Givat Hamotos, which will cut off Bethlehem and the West Bank from East Jerusalem's southern sector.

East Jerusalem was annexed by Israeli in a 1967 war, in a move never recognized by the international community. Israel claims Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while Palestinians say the occupied east must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.


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