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    Palestinians and foreigners march towards Israel's controversial separation wall between the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah and the Israeli settlement of Modiin Ilit during a demonstration against settlements in the area, on February 17, 2017

    Moscow Reaffirms Illegality of Israeli Settlement Activities on Palestinian Soil

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Foreign Ministry has reaffirmed its principled position on the illegality of Israel's settlement activities on the Palestinian territories, including in East Jerusalem, and believes that it does not encourage the establishment conditions for opening the Israeli-Palestinian direct talks.

    "Moscow reaffirms Russia's principled position on the illegality of Israel's settlement activities on the Palestinian territories, including in East Jerusalem. We believe that Israel's stance is not conducive to the creation of conditions for opening the direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians during which all the problems relating to the final status should be settled," the statement said.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry added that Israel's steps undermined the prospects for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the two-state solution principle.

    The statement comes three days after the Israeli Civil Administration adopted the plan to construct over 1,100 housing units in 20 West Bank settlements. According to the administration, additional Israel's construction projects on the Palestinian territories might be agreed upon in the near future.

    READ MORE: Israel Sanctions Massive Housing Construction Plans in W Bank — Advocacy Group

    Moscow, which is a strong advocate of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has repeatedly called for the beginning of direct peace talks in order to "find a solution acceptable to all and based on the well-known UN decisions."

    For decades, Israel has been in conflict with the Palestinians, who had been seeking diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which are partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity and continues to build settlements in the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.

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    settlements, Israel, Palestine, Russia
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