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UN chief voices disappointment over Israeli settlement expansion

English.news.cn   2012-12-03 08:33:04            

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday expressed his "grave concern and disappointment" over Israel's decision on settlement expansion, saying it would deal "an almost fatal blow" to the prospects of a two-state solution.

"It was with grave concern and disappointment that the secretary-general learned of Israel's announcement of 3,000 new settlement units in East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson.

"This would include reported planning in the so-called E-1 envelope, which risks completely cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank," the statement said.

The Israeli government's decision to build new Jewish settlements came a day after the Palestinians upgraded their UN status to a non-member state.

Israeli media reported that some of the new construction would be in E-1, a highly contentious area of the West Bank that runs between the easternmost edge of annexed east Jerusalem and the Maaleh Adumim settlement.

"Settlements are illegal under international law and, should the E-1 settlement be constructed, it would represent an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution," said the statement.

In the statement, the UN chief also repeated his call on all concerned to resume negotiations and intensify efforts toward "a comprehensive, just and lasting peace" and urged the parties to refrain from provocative actions.

"In the interests of peace, any plans for E-1 must be rescinded," added the statement.

The UN vote on the Palestinian bid for "Non-Member Observer State" status passed on Thursday as 138 voted in favor, nine countries against it and 41 countries abstained.

The success of the Palestinian Authority, contrarily, is a diplomatic failure for Israel, which has been under severe criticism from the international community over its construction plans in the West Bank settlements.

Settlement activities brought peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians to a halt in 2010. The Palestinian leadership decided then to appeal to the United Nations for a state recognition despite U.S. opposition.

Editor: znz
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