New York – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon learned “with grave concern and disappointment” of Israel’s announcement of 3,000 new settlement units in East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank, according to his spokesperson today.
“This would include reported planning in the so-called E-1 envelope, which risks completely cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank,” the spokesperson added in a statement.
“Settlements are illegal under international law and,” the spokesperson noted. “Should the E-1 settlement be constructed, it would represent an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-State solution.”
Announced by Israeli authorities on Friday, construction in E1 – a West Bank territory that Israel captured in 1967 – would connect a large Jewish settlement to Jerusalem, according to media reports. However, the move would also reportedly divide the West Bank in two, rendering a viable, contiguous and sovereign Palestinian State impossible to achieve in accordance with the two-State solution contained in the internationally approved plan that seeks to resolve the issue on the basis of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and within secure borders.
Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said that the Secretary-General repeats his call on all concerned to resume negotiations and intensify efforts towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace and urges the parties to refrain from provocative actions. “In the interests of peace, any plans for E-1 must be rescinded,” he added.
On Thursday, the General Assembly voted to grant Palestine non-member observer State status at the United Nations, while expressing the urgent need for the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians leading to a permanent two-State solution.
The resolution on the status of Palestine in the UN was adopted by a vote of 138 in favour to nine against with 41 abstentions by the 193-member Assembly.