RAMALLAH, West Bank, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Palestinians called for a Day of Rage in the West Bank in response to the U.S. veto that blocked a condemnation of Israeli settlements, officials said.
Tawfik Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, called on Palestinians to participate in protests Friday to condemn the U.S. veto of a resolution before the U.N. Security Council condemning Israel for building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Arab News.com reported.
The U.S. refusal to take a real stand against settlements proves "they are liars who pretend to support democracy and peace. Far from it," Tirawi told Ma'an News Agency.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said the move will "further complicate the situation in the Middle East," the news Web site said.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's executive committee, said the Palestinians can no longer consider the United States a fair mediator in the peace process.
"Our decision now is to go to the General Assembly, to pass a U.N. resolution against the settlements, and condemn them and emphasize its lack of legitimacy," he told the Web site.
Saeb Erekat, a key Palestinian negotiator who recently resigned over reports of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians leaked to al-Jazeera, said the veto was unacceptable.
"It is regrettable and cannot be justified or accepted in anyway," he said, adding the move will encourage Israel to build more settlements.
Israel welcomed the U.S. move and called on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. A statement released by the prime minister's office during the weekend said Friday's decision by the United States "makes it clear that the only path to peace will come through direct negotiations and not through decisions of international bodies."
"Israel remains committed to pursuing comprehensive peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. We seek a solution that will reconcile the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations for statehood with Israel's need for security and recognition," the statement said.