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    Israel’s Settlements in Jerusalem Unlawful: Palestinian Ambassador

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    Israel's increased activities in East Jerusalem contradict international law and thus should be prohibited by the UN Security Council, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Fayed Mustafa said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) — Israel's increased activities on the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem run counter to international law and should be prohibited by the UN Security Council, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Fayed Mustafa, said Wednesday.

    "The Israeli authorities ignore international law and disregard the international community," Mustafa said at a press conference held at the Rossiya Segodnya news agency. "Israel goes against the international community and each day proves with its actions that Israel is against the existence of two states [Israel and Palestine]," he added.

    "The settlement activities reflect the Zionist mindset seeking to extend the influence and even territory of Israel. They speak of their 'historic right'. However nobody takes it seriously anymore," Mustafa said.

    "Palestine calls for an urgent session of the UN Security Council. We hope, it will take place today, and the unlawful actions of Israel authorities will be discussed," the ambassador emphasized.

    Mustafa expressed hope that a decision forcing Israel to stop the current settlement activities will be taken, as "any other decision will only encourage Israel".

    The ambassador also called Israel's policy "playing with fire", as it causes an escalation of the crisis and may have far-reaching consequences.

    Sergei Baburin, vice speaker of the Russian State Duma and president of the Russian center of spiritual and cultural development in Jerusalem, shared the views of the Palestinian ambassador at the conference and warned of the dangerous consequences of Israel's policy.

    "I think that Netanyahu's decision on the construction of settlements is a monstrous provocation against Palestinians. As it may encourage [Palestinian] patriots to turn to radical ways of protecting their state," Baburin said, adding that the responsibility for the potential actions of Palestinian radicals should be placed on those who are compelled to self-protective measures, "and self-protection should not be confused with international terrorism."

    Despite the fact that the peace talks with Palestine were resumed in summer 2013, Israel announced its plans for new settler homes in East Jerusalem, which has been criticized by both Palestine and the international community as undermining negotiations. On Monday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recommended boosting plans to construct around 1,000 housing units for Jewish families in East Jerusalem.

    At the moment, there are 42 settlements and a half of the total 600,000 settlers in East Jerusalem are Israeli. Israel plans to change the demographics in Jerusalem so that the Muslim population of the city doesn't exceed 28 percent, according to the ambassador.

    Mustafa also noted that apart of the settlement construction there has been an increased number of attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque located in the Old City of Jerusalem, which have become a daily occurrence in the last few weeks. According to Mustafa, Israel's plans aim to destroy the mosque and restoring its temple instead from the body of the Muslim holy shrine.

    In particular, the ambassador condemned Israel's plans to divide the territory of the mosque for Muslims and Jews and to impose time restrictions for prayers. Israel suggests that Muslims should have no access to the mosque from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

    The most recent attack took place Wednesday, when a group of the Jewish settlers broke into the mosque in a provocative manner escorted by Israeli police.


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