UN slams Israel settlements
UK: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern to Israel’s
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about new settlement construction in
the Palestinian territories, a UN spokesman said.
Ban and Netanyahu focused on the deadlocked Middle East peace process
in talks at UN headquarters, held a few hours after Israel approved more
than 1,300 new homes in occupied east Jerusalem.
“The Secretary General emphasized that it was vital to break the
current diplomatic stalemate, resume negotiations and produce results,”
the UN spokesman said in a statement.
Ban “expressed concern at the resumption of the settlement activity
and recent announcements of further settlement construction in east
The Secretary General also “expressed hope for further measures by
the Israel government to ease the movement of people and goods to and
Ban and Netanyahu discussed the broader region, including Iran,
tensions in Hezbollah-dominated southern Lebanon and Israel’s military
presence in the Lebanese border village of Ghajar.
Netanyahu was to announce Israel’s withdrawal from the village at the
meeting, an Israeli official said Sunday. But the UN statement made no
mention of such an offer.
The Israeli prime minister’s spokesman said no comment on the meeting
with Ban was expected.
The Israeli leader is on a short tour of the United States and is to
meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday.
The US administration said earlier it was “deeply disappointed” by
the new settler homes.
The United States called the announcement “counterproductive to our
efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties,” said State
Department spokesman Philip Crowley.