UN warns Israel of fatal blow to peace
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon yesterday warned of an “almost fatal blow” to peace prospects if Israel’s plans to build new settlements in a strategically sensitive area near East Jerusalem go ahead.
The settlements could result in East Jerusalem being completely cut off from the rest of the West Bank, said Mr Ban.
Israel announced their plans for 3,000 new homes just a day after the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for the upgrade of Palestine’s diplomatic status from “observer entity” to “non-member state”.
Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas returned from New York on Sunday declaring: “Now we have a state” to supporters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned that Palestine had “violated” its agreements with Israel by going to the UN, adding that Israel would “act accordingly”.
A spokesman for Ban Ki Boon said the Secretary General expressed “grave concern and disappointment” with regards to the plans.
“The secretary general repeats his call on all concerned to resume negotiations and intensify efforts towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace and urges the parties to refrain from provocative actions,” read the statement.
Netanyahu has vowed to continue with the building plans, part of which are in the contentious E1 area of the West Bank, where settlements are considered illegal under international law.