AFP
Last updated: 5 June, 2014

Israel to build 1,500 more homes in settlements

The Palestine Liberation Organisation is to appeal to the UN Security Council over Israel’s settlement construction, after it invited tenders for another 1,500 settler homes, a senior official said Thursday.

“The executive committee of the PLO views this latest escalation with the utmost of seriousness,” Hanan Ashrawi said in an English-language statement.

The executive committee “will counter it by addressing both the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly as the proper way of curbing this grave violation and ensuring accountability,” she added.

Overnight, Israel’s housing ministry unveiled plans for the new homes, 400 of them in annexed east Jerusalem, in what it said was a “fitting Zionist response” to the formation of a Palestinian unity government backed by the Islamist Hamas movement.

The Palestinians threatened an “unprecedented” response to the move, with one senior official telling AFP the leadership was considering an appeal to the international justice system.

“The Palestinian leadership is looking seriously into going to international courts against settlement activity,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The option of legal action against Israeli settlement building at the International Criminal Court in The Hague opened up after the Palestinians won observer state status at the United Nations in 2012.

But they agreed to hold off on any such recourse for the duration of US-brokered peace negotiations with Israel, which collapsed earlier this year.

“It is time to hold Israel accountable in front of international organisations in light of international law,” chief negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.

“Those who fear the international courts should stop their war crimes against the Palestinian people, first and foremost of which is settlement activity.”