The United Nations senior official coordinating efforts toward the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today strongly condemned the recent decision by Israeli authorities to advance plans to build some 770 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, located on occupied Palestinian land between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem.
He said he was also concerned about repeated efforts by a number of families to rebuild the Israeli outpost of Mitzpeh Avichai near Hebron in the Occupied West Bank.
“Such moves raise legitimate questions about Israel's long-term intentions,” said Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, in a statement.
Some Israeli ministers have called for the full annexation of the West Bank, or said that there should never be a Palestinian state, he added.
This decision to expand Gilo comes only three weeks after the Middle East Quartet – the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the UN – called on Israel to cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, Mr. Mladenov said.
He reiterated that settlements are illegal under international law, urging the Government of Israel to cease and reverse such decisions.
“Continuing on the current trajectory entrenches a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict that is incompatible with realizing the national aspirations of both peoples,” he said.