The President of the European Parliament, Klaus Haensch, has strongly criticised Israeli plans to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
His comments came in an address to the Palestinian Legislative Council in the West Bank town of Ramallah Wednesday.
In Nablus, thousands of supporters from the Islamic Fundamentalist group Hamas held a rally in memory of the Palestinians killed in riots this September.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, meeting World Bank officials in Paris, said despite the setbacks, his people are still committed to a peaceful solution in the Middle East.
Supporters of the fundamentalist group of Hamas, held a memorial rally in the West Bank city of Nablus Wednesday, to commemorate the death of more than 60 Palestinian killed by Israeli soldier during riots in September.
15 Israeli soldiers were also killed.
Hundreds of supporters some chanting Allahu Akbar and some waving Hamas flags turned out for the rally at An-Najah University.
Masked members of Hamas marched through the throng of people carrying an assortment of weapons. Some members of the fundamentalist Islamic group wrapped themselves in white robes -- symbolic death shrouds.
The President of the European Parliament, Klaus Haensch, also arrived Wednesday in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
A ceremonial guard of honour stood to attention outside the Palestinian Legislative Council, where Haensch was greeted by the head of the Council, Ahmed Quriea.
After talks between the two men, Haensch addressed the 88-member council.
In his speech, he strongly criticised the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, describing them as illegal.
Haensch also expressed support for the concept of Palestinian statehood, but said Palestinians must be patient with the faltering peace talks with Israel.
The E-U is the main source of financial support for the Palestinian autonomous government, providing more than seven (m) million U-S dollars in aid since 1993.
Meanwhile, in Paris, the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met World Bank officials, seeking financial support for his battered economy.
The economic situation of Palestinians has worsened in the past year after the closure of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank last February - unemployment has risen from 11 to 23 percent.
To ease the Palestinian woes, donor nations pledged more than 845 (m) million dollars.
The money, to be released in 1997 will be used to create jobs, rebuild the Palestinian territories' roads and utilities.
Arafat reiterated his commitment to the peace process in the Middle East.
"In spite of all these difficulties we are committed to the peace process, and we will continue to be committed to the peace process."
SUPER CAPTION: Yasser Arafat, Palestinian leader
Earlier in the day Arafat met with the French Premier Alain Juppe and thanked France for its continued support in the peace negotiations.