UN chief calls on Israel to freeze settlement activityListen /
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned by the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank in violation of international law.
And he calls on Israel to heed the calls of the international community to freeze settlement activity and abide by its commitments under international law and the Road Map.
A statement from the Spokespersons' Office says the Secretary-General is particularly troubled by reports that planning for hundreds of housing units in the settlement of Itamar, deep into the West Bank, has advanced to the next stage, as is also the case in the outpost of Bruchin, noting that these reports follow other recent announcements in Beit El, near Ramallah.
According to the statement, the Secretary-General also remains concerned about reports of plans for around 1,000 settlement units in East Jerusalem and steps to authorize four illegal settlement outposts deep in the West Bank.
These are unhelpful decisions that undermine progress towards the two-state solution. And they constitute a deeply worrisome trend at a moment of ongoing efforts to re-launch peace negotiations, according to the statement.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.