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‘US silence on settlements, two-state solution encouraging Israel’s apartheid policies’

Chief Palestinian negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, speaks during a press conference in the occupied West Bank city of Ariha (Jericho) on February 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has denounced US President Donald Trump's administration over his silence on the expansion of settlements in the occupied territories as well as failure to prop up the so-called two-state solution, stressing that such a conduct has encouraged the Israeli regime to continue its “apartheid” policies.

"The fact the US administration did not declare the final goal of the peace process is to achieve two states on the basis of the 1967 borders, and its silence regarding the intensification of Israeli colonial settlement activities, are interpreted by the Israeli government as an opportunity to destroy the two-state solution and replace it with one state with two systems,” Erekat, who is also the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said on Tuesday.

He added that the American administration's perceived silence is an “obstacle” to a new round of so-called peace negotiations between Palestinians and the Israeli regime.

Since the inauguration of Trump in January, the regime in Tel Aviv has stepped up its construction of settler units on occupied Palestinian land in a blatant violation of international law.

A picture taken on July 7, 2017 shows a general view of construction work in Ramat Shlomo, an Israeli settlement in the mainly Palestinian eastern sector of Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)

Less than a month before Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council had adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians wants the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

Trump backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict earlier this year, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.

“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15.

Trump has also vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

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