The United Nations today denounced recent Israeli initiatives to accelerate settlement construction in occupied Palestinian territory, stressing that “unilateral actions” are an obstacle to peace based on a two-state solution.
“For the secretary general there is no plan B for the two states solution,” UN chief Antonio Guterres’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “In this respect any unilateral decision that can be an obstacle to the two state goal is of grave concern for the secretary general,” he said.
Dujarric said the UN’s position on settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem “has not changed.”
“We would include that in the category of unilateral actions,” he said, referring to Israel’s announcement on settlements. “There is a need for the two parties to engage in a bona fide negotiation to reach the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, two states for two people,” he said.
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The United Nations considers the settlements to be illegal and an obstacle to peace, as it reaffirmed in a recent UN Security Council resolution which the United States under former US president Barack Obama’s administration declined to veto, for the first time since 1979. Israel today announced the construction of 2,500 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, the biggest initiative of its kind in years.
On Sunday, just days after US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the green light for the construction of 566 settlement homes in East Jerusalem, a predominantly Palestinian sector of the city occupied and annexed by Israel.
The announcement reflects the Israeli government’s clear determination to take advantage of the new situation created by Trump’s election, after eight years of tense relations with the Obama administration.