The Palestinians reacted angrily to the Ariel construction plan. "I think we have 3,000 more obstacles to peace and we will have, if this program is carried out, 3,000 reasons to undermine President Bush's efforts for a two-state solution," said Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. The US and European Union say settlement expansion violates the "roadmap" peace plan, which calls for a freeze on construction in the disputed territories. Cabinet minister Haim Ramon of the dovish Labor Party also criticized the project. "To build 3,000 housing units means building a new Ariel and this is a mistake because this will cause damage in the international arena," Ramon said.
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