"Legitimate questions" raised about Israel's long-term intentions

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Demolitions continue in the West Bank
July 2016. Photo/UNRWA

The building of housing in settlements in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem raises "legitimate questions" about Israel's long-term intentions, the UN Secretary-General has said.

His statement follows the decision by Israeli authorities to advance plans to build a total of 800 housing units a move which is illegal under international law.

Daniel Dickinson reports

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly criticised Israel’s decision to move forward with new construction in the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim as well as in parts of East Jerusalem.

He urged Israel to halt and reverse the decision in the interest of "peace and a just final status agreement."

The UN supports what is known as the two-state solution where a Palestinian state coexists peacefully with Israel in territory Israel has occupied since the 1967 Middle East war.

The UN chief said he was deeply disappointed that the announcement came only four days after the Middle East Quartet called on Israel to cease its policy of settlement construction and expansion.

The building of settlements has long been an impediment to peace in the region.

The Quartet is made up of the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 55″

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