07/01/2016, 09.03
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Quartet report says Israel must urgently halt settlement expansion in the West Bank

Ongoing construction one of three "negative trends" that must be quickly reversed, Un diplomat says. Violence, incitement and the Palestinian Authority's lack of control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip also "severely undermine hopes for peace.” Quartet findings the basis for reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Israeli girl stabbed to death by Palestinian inside bedroom.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A much-awaited report by the Middle East quartet demands that Israel take urgent steps to halt the expansion of settlements in Palestinian territories, the UN envoy said Thursday. Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that ongoing Israeli construction in the West Bank was one of three "negative trends" that must be quickly reversed to keep the hope of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal alive.

Violence, incitement and the Palestinian Authority's lack of control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip also "severely undermine hopes for peace," Mladenov said.

The full report prepared by the quartet -- the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations -- is expected to be released on Friday after months of delays, mostly over of the thorny issue of settlements, diplomats said.

Its findings and recommendations are to serve as the basis for reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that has been comatose since a US peace initiative collapsed in April 2014.

Mladenov said the report outlined a "reasonable set of steps" that could set Israel and the Palestinians "firmly along a navigable course towards establishing a comprehensive peace with historic implications for the entire region.”

The UN envoy asked the Security Council to endorse the report recommendations in a move that would turn the document into an internationally-agreed roadmap for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

As the council discussed the new peace plan, a Palestinian attacker stabbed and killed a 13-year-old girl in her home in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, who had US citizenship, was attacked as she slept inside her bedroom in Kiryat Arba.

A security guard who responded to the incident was wounded before the attacker was shot dead by other guards. The Palestinian health ministry identified the Kiryat Arba assailant as Mohammed Tarayreh, 19, from the nearby village of Bani Naim.

"The horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of the incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

Since it began, 207 Palestinians, 32 Israelis, two Americans and one Sudanese and one Eritrean have been killed.

Most Palestinians were killed trying to stab or fire on passing cars or soldiers. The others were killed during demonstrations or clashes with the military.

Faced with this escalation of violence that culminated in the attack in Tel Aviv on June 8, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to step up the demolition of the homes of Palestinian assailants. A measure which, according to critics, is a "collective punishment" which ends up exacerbating the tension.


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