Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat - AP - Feb. 6, 2010
PA President Mahmoud Abbas and negotiator Saeb Erekat in Cairo on February 6, 2010. Photo by AP
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The Palestinian Authority opposes a U.S. proposal to renew the moratorium on settlement construction for three months, several senior PA officials said yesterday.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said construction must be halted in East Jerusalem as well if the Palestinians are to accept a freeze.

A Palestinian state, he told Al-Jazeera TV, has no meaning without East Jerusalem as its capital. If Israel does not halt construction there as well as in the settlements, he said, the Palestinians will seek statehood from the United Nations.

Washington has yet to update the Palestinians about the proposal, Erekat said.

Palestinian sources said they expect a U.S. envoy to visit the region within the next few days to discuss renewing negotiations with Israel if the freeze is implemented.

They also said that despite the combative public statements on East Jerusalem, the PA will be forced to give into U.S. pressure if Israel does agree to the moratorium.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told the London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat that U.S. commitments to Israel in exchange for the freeze, especially commitments related to security issues, are more dangerous than the actual construction in the settlements.

Nabil Sha'ath, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, said he doesn't understand the point of a freeze that lasts only three months, since no one can say what will happen after that.