RAMALLAH, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat urged Thursday the international community to impose sanctions on Israel for its continued settlement activity in the West Bank.
He also blamed the U.S. administration for encouraging such activity.
"By refraining from condemning such colonial illegal plans, the U.S. State Department is, in fact, encouraging Tel Aviv to continue with its violations of international law that threatens peace and security in our region," said Erekat in a press statement.
He said that Israel must take responsible for its actions and the situation on the ground requires provision of international protection for the Palestinian people.
Israel settlement activity in the occupied territories is not just a breach of international law, but could also constitute a war crime, he added.
Erekat's statements come in reaction to the latest announcement by the Israeli Civil Administration, which is a military body in charge of Israel's affairs in the occupied territory, to build 1,000 new settlement units in the West Bank, 400 of which will begin construction immediately.
Israeli settlement activity, deemed illegal by most world powers, is considered one of the thorniest issues that hindered the peace talks between the two sides. It continues to be one of the main issues of disagreement since the stop of the peace talks in 2014.
The last round of U.S. sponsored negotiations between Palestine and Israel ended after almost nine months of talks without achieving any breakthrough.