UN Envoy "Gravely Concerned" at Plans for New Israeli Settlements


Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process on 22 March 2014 voiced grave concern at the Israeli Government’s reported plans to advance over 2,300 settlement units, many of them deep inside the West Bank.
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A settler woman walks past an Israeli soldier standing guard in East Jerusalem. Photo: IRIN/Andreas Hackl

A settler woman walks past an Israeli soldier standing guard in East Jerusalem. Photo: IRIN/Andreas Hackl

“This development is particularly unhelpful against the backdrop of a volatile situation on the ground and as US-led peace negotiations have reached a critical stage,” Robert Serry said in a statement issued in Jerusalem, the UN reportedHe reiterated that settlements are illegal under international law and cannot be reconciled with Israel’s stated intention to pursue a two-State solution.

Senior UN officials have repeatedly stated that settlement plans threaten renewed hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace, and have stressed the need to avoid actions that negatively impact ongoing peace talks. 

Direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian sides resumed last year, after stalling in 2010 owing to Israel’s refusal to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

‘Settlement Plans Threaten Renewed Hopes for Israeli-Palestinian Peace’

On 13 November 2013, Robert Serry voiced his growing concern at the series of settlement announcements made by Israel over the past weeks and stressed the need to avoid actions that negatively impact ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the UN reported.

“At this sensitive moment, it is imperative to avoid negative actions and support ongoing talks to preserve the remaining chances of achieving a two-State solution in the interest of Israelis and Palestinians alike,” said a statement issued by the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, who also voiced his deep concern at recent violent incidents.

Israel reportedly announced plans to build 20,000 new settler homes in the West Bank, prompting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to threaten an end to peace talks that resumed a few months ago after a three-year hiatus.

The statement by Serry noted that settlement activity cannot be reconciled with the goal of a negotiated two-State solution, and reiterated the UN position that settlements are against international law and an obstacle to peace.

Against this backdrop, the Special Coordinator met separately with the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

“He understands from his discussion with chief negotiator [Tzipi] Livni and other Israeli officials that yesterday’s decision to plan a large number of settlement units has been stopped,” said the statement.

Direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian sides resumed this past August, after stalling in 2010 owing to Israel’s refusal to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Read also:

Israeli Settler Violence Must Be Prosecuted, UN Human Rights Chief

Requiem For Palestine (I): A Conflict Born With A Solution

Requiem For Palestine (II): Can Gruyere Be A Solution?

‘Denying the Existence of the Palestinian People Is an ‘Article of Faith’

UN Urges Israel ‘To Prevent Settler Attacks against Palestinian Villages’

‘Stop Forced Displacement of Palestinians’ – UN to Israel

UN to Israel ‘Stop Violating Palestinian Child Detainees Human Rights’

‘Urgent Need to Further Protect Palestinian Children Against Israeli Violence’

Unequal Under the Law – Interview with Israeli Historian Ilan Pappé

2014 Human Wrongs Watch

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