RAMALLAH, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Wednesday that Israel's approval of new settlement construction in East Jerusalem "sabotages" the peace process.
Erekat told Xinhua that Israel's persistence to resume settlement activity can only undermine U.S. efforts to make peace in the region.
Israeli radio reported on Wednesday that the Jerusalem municipal council has issued building permits for 500 settler housing units in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as their future capital.
Erekat said Israel has permitted the building of 10,000 settlement units since the resumption of the U.S-brokered Israeli- Palestinian direct peace negotiations last July.
"This proves that Israel prefers settlement over peace," Erekat added.
The current peace talks are set to end in April. However, Israeli and Palestinian officials have announced in various occasions that no tangible progress has been achieved in the process.