Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, accused Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, of acting in a way that is meant to foil peace talks and hinder the chances of a peace deal with the Palestinians. He said that Netanyahu approved further settlement construction in the occupied territories an issue that would foil all efforts to ensure the resumption of peace talks.

Erekat stated that Netanyahu approved more units for Jewish settlements beyond the “Green Line’, and that he [Netanyahu] is determined to hinder the peace process.

The Palestinian official told the Agence France-Presse that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank thought that Netanyahu was going to Washington to tell the Obama administration that he is halting settlement activities, “but instead he is ongoing with the construction with the intention to destroy the talks”.

Netanyahu is currently on a five-day tour in the United States to hold talks with senior U.S. officials in an attempt to market his policy of settlement construction and his ‘conviction’ that settlement activities in the occupied territories ‘do not contradict with the efforts to resume the peace process’.

Direct Palestinian-Israeli talks were resumed in early September but were soon obstructed after Israel’s moratorium on settlement activities expired nearly six weeks ago.

The Palestinian Authority said that it cannot hold talks with Israel while it continues to construct and expand Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem.