Saeb Erekat
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat Photo by Dan Keinan
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Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat strongly condemned Thursday the inauguration of a new East Jerusalem settlement, blaming the Israeli government for destroying the vision for a two-state solution.

On Wednesday, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and several other government ministers attended a dedication ceremony for the new Jewish settlement of Ma'aleh Zeitim, in East Jerusalem's Ras al-Amud neighborhood.

The move came one day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in Congress that Jerusalem will not be divided.

“The Israeli government is implementing its vision for the destruction of a two-state solution presented by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the American Congress,” the Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Erekat as saying.

“This settlement is not only another obstacle to returning to negotiations, but it also raises tensions, institutionalizes discrimination, and brings those with extremist beliefs in close proximity to Palestinian residential areas,” he said.

Erekat added that the establishment of settlements in Palestinian neighborhoods is an attempt to destroy the social fabric of Palestinian society, which according to him, Israel attempted to do in other places such as Hebron, Silwan, and Sheikh Jarrah.

The Palestinian negotiator also called on the international community to recognize a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, saying it is time for peace-supporting nations to recognize Palestine.