Palestinians to ask U.N. Security Council to stop Israel settlement expansion plans

Saeb Erekat, Palestinian chief negotiator, speaks to journalists during a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 2, 2012, regarding peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel to take place in Amman, Jordan on January 3.

Updated at 7:41 a.m. Eastern

RAMALLAH, West Bank A West Bank official says the Palestinians will ask the U.N. Security Council to halt two massive Israeli settlement projects that he warns will destroy last hopes for a Mideast peace deal.

For now, Israel is advancing both projects, E-1 and Givat Hamatos, with some 7,500 apartments. The construction would cut off east Jerusalem, the intended Palestinian capital, from the West Bank.

Israel revived plans for E-1 last week, after a majority of U.N. member nations voted to upgrade Palestine's official status to that of "observer state". CBS Radio News correspondent Robert Berger says Israeli leaders insist the construction plans are an appropriate response to last week's UN vote.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said Wednesday the Palestinians are asking the Security Council to block construction because otherwise "the idea of peace ... will disappear."

He says the U.S. must halt construction itself if it wants to avoid casting a veto at the council, as in 2011.

Several European nations with longstanding ties to Israel have blasted the proposed development, and Berger says EU envoy Andrew Standley reiterated those concerns, saying the settlements harm efforts to revive peace talks.

"That's what we're trying to analyze and trying to avoid at the moment," said Standley.