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    Ban Ki-Moon Asks Israel to Freeze Settlement Activities in East Jerusalem

    Sergey Guneev
    Middle East
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    UN Secretary-General urges Israel not to establish 1,000 settlement units in East Jerusalem.

    UNITED NATIONS, October 30 (RIA Novosti) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is alarmed by the news of Israel planning to establish 1,000 settlement units in East Jerusalem, calls to freeze this project, UN Official Jeffrey Feltman said.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "is alarmed by new reports about the advancement of planning for some 1,000 Israeli settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem. These include approximately 400 units in Har Homa and 600 in Ramat Shlomo," the UN's Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council on Wednesday, adding that Ban Ki-moon "calls on Israel to reverse these activities, heed the calls of the international community to freeze settlement activity."

    Of these planned settlement units, Feltman said that "if pursued, these plans would once again raise grave doubts about Israel's commitment to achieving a durable peace with the Palestinians as the new settlements threaten the very viability of the future State of Palestine."

    Citing Security Council resolutions and court decisions, Feltman said that as "determined by the International Court of Justice, Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in the occupied Palestinian territory, including occupied East Jerusalem, are in violation of international law."

    When the UN Security Council last voted on Israel's settlements, in February 2011, the United States blocked the resolution by casting a veto, while the Security Council's 14 other members all voted in favor.

    Turning from the West Bank to Gaza, Feltman told the Security Council that "the wounds of the devastating conflict " are only beginning to heal. "Further delay in the pursuit of peace will only exacerbate the conflict further and deepen divisions. Ignoring the calls from the international community for negotiations for whatever excuse will only breed more violence in the region, that has already seen too much of it," Feltman concluded.

    Despite peace talks, Israel has significantly increased settlement construction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, causing a new escalation of tensions with Palestinians and condemnation from the international community.

    On Monday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recommended boosting plans to construct around 1,000 housing units for Jewish families in East Jerusalem.

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    Tags:
    Ban Ki-moon, Palestine, Israel, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip
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