With tensions rising over new Israeli settlement plans, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said today that he will not allow settlements in a highly sensitive area bordering Jerusalem, reports the Jerusalem Post. Building plans in the 5-square-mile E1 corridor are "a red line and we will not allow it to happen," said Abbas. "We are holding contacts on all levels to stop this Israeli project that aims to sabotage the peace process." His remarks come a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed international criticism of the settlements, saying that "the Western Wall is not occupied territory, and I don't care what the United Nations says."
Netanyahu added that Israeli voters will "send a message" in upcoming elections "not only domestically but also to the international community." Rhetoric had been heating up earlier in the week, with the Palestinian Authority threatening to stage demonstrations, end security cooperation with Israel, and seek sanctions from the international community, Ynet News reports. An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman fired back that Abbas "is seeking to incite a confrontation with Israel no matter what. ... They continue digging in their heels out of some delusional, suicidal power drunkenness."