The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process criticised the Jewish state for failing to comply with the UN resolution on settlements. Instead, the Israeli government has authorised a “high rate” of settlement expansion. For Israel’s UN ambassador, the settlements are not an obstacle to peace.
New York (AsiaNews) – Israel has not taken any steps to comply with a Security Council call to stop all settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and instead authorised "a high rate" of settlement expansion in violation of international law, said UN envoy Nikolay Mladenov.
The UN diplomat, a Bulgarian, told the UN Security Council that the large number of settlement announcements and legislative action by Israel indicate "a clear intent to continue expanding the settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory."
Mr Mladenov was delivering the first report to the council on implementation of the resolution it adopted on 23 December condemning the Israeli government as a "flagrant violation" of international law and recent UN decisions. Israel’s current administration under Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is the most right-wing in the country’s history.
The resolution was approved by 14 votes with the United States abstaining, a first for Washington since 1979. Israel responded by reducing diplomatic ties with the nations that voted for the resolution.
Mladenov reiterated that the United Nations "considers all settlement activities to be illegal under international law and one of the main obstacles to peace." He called Israel’s illegal settlement "deeply concerning" undermining the territorial continuity of the future Palestinian state.
In January, Israel made two major announcements for a total of 5,500 housing units in Area C, the 60 per cent of the West Bank it controls directly.
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon responded in a statement, saying "there is no moral equivalency between the building of homes and murderous terrorism." In his view, "The only impediment to peace is Palestinian violence and incitement," he added "This obsessive focus on Israel must end."
Under the Netanyahu government Israeli settlement activity rose considerably. In 2015 at least 15,000 settlers moved into the West Bank.
According to the Israeli organisation Peace Now, Israeli authorities gave the green light to 2,623 new housing units, including 756 retroactively “legalised” unlawful units.
At least 570,000 Israeli Jews live in more than 130 settlements built by Israel after 1967 on occupied Palestinian land. However, what started as a trickle has turned into a flood in recent times thanks to the expansionist policy of the Israeli government.
In addition to the formal settlements, there are at least 97 outposts, considered illegal not only under international law but also by the Israeli government.
Peace talks broke down in 2014, triggering a wave of violence that the international community has not been able to stop.