UN latest to condemn Israeli settlement plans
Ban Ki-Moon, US Secretary General (Photo: Kismaayo 24)
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and all Security Council members except the US called on Wednesday for an immediate halt to Israel’s settlement building on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In individual statements, representatives of the 14 council members warned that Israel’s settlement expansion is threatening the possibility of a two-state solution with Palestinians.
Mr Ban told reporters on Wednesday that Israel's heightened settlement activity "gravely threatens efforts to establish a viable Palestinian state".
"The two sides seem more polarised than ever, and a two-state solution is farther away than at any time since the Oslo process began'' in the 1990s, he said.
While the US protected Israel at the UN, on Tuesday its state department accused Israel of “a pattern of provocative action”.
Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said settlement activity puts the goal of peace "further at risk".
On Monday, Palestinians threatened UN action after Israel gave its approval for 1,500 new housing units to be built in annexed East Jerusalem.
According to the BBC, Jerusalem's planning committee granted approval on Wednesday for 2,610 homes in a new settlement in East Jerusalem.
Already home to more than 500,000 Israelis, Palestinian officials refuse to negotiate with Tel Aviv while Israel continues to expand its settlements on Palestinian territories.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would press ahead with settlement expansion despite the UN’s concerns.
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