UN chief calls Israeli settlements 'provocative acts'

United Nations chief calls Israeli settlement plans in occupied Palestinian territories as 'provocative acts'

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki moon, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki moon on Tuesday described Israel's new plans for Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as 'provocative acts.'

Ban expressed he was "deeply troubled" by reports that the Israeli government had ratified plans for at least 150 new homes in "illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank."

"These provocative acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead," Ban said during a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

"Continued settlement activities are an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community," he stated.

"They rightly raise fundamental questions about Israel's commitment to a two-state solution."

He said tension was increasing among Palestinians.

A view of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim is seen near Jerusalem [Reuters-Archive]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Ban's comments, stating that they only support terrorism.

He said in a statement Palestinians do not want to establish a state rather they want to destroy one. "The UN has long ago lost its neutrality and its moral powers," said Netanyahu.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said Washington is strongly against the settlement plan.

"Steps aimed at advancing the Israeli settlement program ... are fundamentally incompatible with the two-state solution and raise legitimate questions about Israel's long-term intentions," Power told the council.

The continued construction of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - which both came under Israeli occupation following the Six-Day war in 1967 - often raises tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and last year resulted in the breaking-off of peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

Israel walked out of talks after the Palestinian Authority announced the formation of a joint government with Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

The collapse of talks led to a brief war between Israel and Hamas in the summer of 2014, which killed over 2,200 Palestinians - mostly civilians. Seventy-two Israelis, mostly soldiers, were also killed.

According to Israeli government and think-tank statistics, nearly 550,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Almost 350,000 Palestinians reside in East Jerusalem and 2.7 million in West Bank.

TRTWorld and agencies