MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in November, media reports emerged claiming that Jerusalem's municipality proposed the construction of 500 housing units in Ramat Shlomo, an area of East Jerusalem annexed by Israel. Plans for expanding the settlement were approved by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2014, but have since remained frozen.
"Moscow is significantly concerned over reports of illegal Israeli settlement activities on the occupied Palestinian territories. These contradict the July 1 Middle East Quartet report by international mediators."
The ministry called on Israel to halt settlement construction, stressing that the practice jeopardizes the bringing about of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Halting construction "would become a major factor in creating new condition for renewing the political process."
The situation with Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has also recently been aggravated by the Knesset's legislative proposals to legalize settler buildings built on Palestinian land which are currently considered illegal by Israel itself, as well as the United Nations. The bill has so far passed its first hearing.
Over 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, according to United Nations figures. The settlements are considered illegal by the United Nations, and West Bank territory is considered occupied territory by the International Court of Justice. The West Bank has been occupied by Israel since 1967.