UN chief expresses "regret" over Israeli settlement bill

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Secretary-General António Guterres. Photo: World Economic Forum/Boris Baldinger (file)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed "regret" over the adoption of a bill that would enable the continued use of privately-owned Palestinian land for Israeli settlements.

Israel's parliament, the Knesset, passed the so-called "Regularisation Bill" on Monday.

The law reportedly provides legal immunity to settlements and outposts in the occupied West Bank.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

The "Regularisation Bill," in contravention of international law, will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel, the UN Secretary-General has warned. 

Israel's Attorney General echoes this view and also considers the bill to be "unconstitutional." 

According to media reports, the bill will legalise retroactively close to 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank. 

In a message delivered by his Spokesperson, António Guterres called on the two parties to negotiate. 

Here's UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric. 

"The Secretary-General deeply regrets the adoption of the so called “Regularisation bill” on 6 February by the Knesset. This bill is in contravention of international law and will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel. It reportedly provides immunity to settlements and outposts in the occupied West Bank that were built on privately-owned Palestinian land. The Secretary-General insists on the need to avoid any actions that would derail the two-state solution. All core issues should be resolved between the parties through direct negotiations on the basis of relevant Security Council resolutions and mutual agreements. The United Nations stands ready to support this process. 

In December, the Security Council voted on a resolution demanding once again that Israel cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem. 

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations. 

Duration: 1’28″

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