[QODLink]
Middle East

Ban terms Israeli settlement push illegal

UN chief terms proposed building of 1,000 homes in two occupied West Bank settlements 'violation of international law'.

Last Modified: 14 Jun 2013 18:24
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
An Israeli settlers council on Thursday asked authorities for construction approval in two settlements [Reuters]

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has termed Israeli plans to press ahead with the construction of more than 1,000 homes in two occupied West Bank settlements "a violation of international law", according to his spokesperson.

The Israeli announcement to authorise the building of 550 housing units in Bruchin and 537 units in Itamar was also met with condemnation by the United States and Palestine.

"These are unhelpful decisions that undermine progress towards the two-state solution," Martin Nesirky, Ban's spokesperson, said on Friday, a day after the announcement.

"They constitute a deeply worrisome trend at a moment of ongoing efforts to re-launch peace negotiations.''

On Thursday, Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian prime minister, said the plan to build the settlements was "killing the two state solution".

The continued building of Israeli settlements lies at the heart of an impasse over restarting negotiations on the terms of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The Palestinians hope to build their state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands Israel occupied in 1967.

The United States is currently trying to get the long dormant peace talks back on track but the Palestinians say they will not return to the negotiating table as long as Israeli settlement construction continues.

Vehicles torched

Also on Friday, unidentified vandals set two vehicles on fire in an Arab neighbourhood of Jerusalem, in what police say appears to be the latest attach carried out by Jewish extremists.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the words "price tag" were found sprayed on a wall near the cars in Sheikh Jarrah.

The phrase is usually used by Jewish extremists to protest what they perceive to be the Israeli government's pro-Palestinian policies, and to let Palestinians know who attacked them.

Vandals have targeted mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases with "price tag" graffiti over the years.

In recent weeks, there has been a steady stream of such incidents, including an Arab Christian graveyard vandalised on Thursday and a Jerusalem church defaced two weeks ago.

Rosenfeld said police were searching for the perpetrators.

347

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.