Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, threatened to head to the International Criminal Court (ICC) should Israel insist on implementing its decision to build more than 3000 homes for Jewish settlers as part of its E1 illegal settlement project in occupied East Jerusalem.The statements of Abbas came during a press conference with the Turkish President, Abdullah Gül, in Ankara.

“Should Israel continue to build new homes for settlers, we will retaliate with all available peaceful means”, Abbas said, “One of those means is for sure heading to the ICC”.

“Should Israel choose peace, it will find us ready and willing”, the Palestinian President added, “But should the Israeli government choose settlements, especially in E1, then we will have our legal options”.

Abbas also stated that the recently declared Israeli plan to build thousands of settlement units on lands that belong to the Palestinian State, on lands around occupied Jerusalem, is a red line, and added, “We will not allow Israel to implement its illegitimate plan, as it violates all international treaties, and the Fourth Geneva Convention”.

The President further stated that the Israeli plan, that brought massive international condemnation, aims at punishing the Palestinians for heading to the UN General Assembly, and for managing to achieve a nonmember state status.

Tel Aviv claimed that the vote is an obstacle to any negotiated settlements to the conflict.

On his part, the Turkish President strongly condemned the Israeli decision and urged Tel Aviv “to refrain from playing with fire”.

Gül said that Turkey supports the Palestinian people, and their internationally guaranteed rights for liberation and independence.

The Turkish-Israeli relations suffered a sharp blow after Israeli soldiers pirated and attacked in late May 2010, the MV Marmara solidarity ship, part of the Freedom Flotilla that was heading to Gaza to deliver medical and humanitarian supplies, and killed nine Turkish nationals, including a Turkish American citizen.