The United Nations (UN) secretary general Ban Ki-moon strongly criticised the Israeli authorities’ decision to advance plans to build 560 housing units in the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim.
He also criticised the advancement of plans to build 240 housing units in a number of settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
Ban was quoted saying: “This raises legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by continuing statements of some Israeli ministers calling for the annexation of the West Bank.”
Ban highlighted, in an official statement on Monday, that settlements are illegal under international law and urged the government of Israel to halt and reverse such decisions in the interest of peace and a just final status agreement.
This announcement comes only four days after the Middle East Quartet called on Israel to cease its policy of settlement construction and expansion.
The Middle East Quartet, which is made up of the UN, Russia, the United States, and the European Union, released the first report of its kind, which analysed the impediments to a lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and offered recommendations for ways to move forward. It also urged Israel to stop its settlement policy and Palestine to end the incitement of violence. The committee has been working on the report since February.
The UN said in a statement on Friday that the report provides recommendations to what it has identified as the major threats to achieving negotiated peace: continued violence, terrorist attacks against civilians, incitement of violence, settlement construction and expansion, and the Palestinian Authority’s lack of control in Gaza.