United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned Israel over its plans to build new homes in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.
A statement from Ban’s spokesman said the UN chief “strongly deplored the advancement of settlement activities on three occasions over the past three consecutive weeks by the Israeli authorities in the occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.”
“He reiterates that settlements are illegal under international law and urges the Government of Israel to halt and reverse such decisions in the interest of peace and a just final status agreement,” the statement added.
Ban also reiterated that the international community will not recognize unilateral actions on the ground and that the status of Jerusalem can only be resolved through negotiations.
The comments come one week after Israel approved construction of 900 homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, a haredi neighborhood in the eastern part of the capital.
The European Union later criticized the Israeli plans, saying “Israel's determination to continue its settlement policy despite the urging of the international community not only threatens the viability of the two state solution but also seriously calls into question its commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians.”
The State Department in Washington also condemned the move, calling it "disappointing" and "damaging".
"This is a disappointing development, and we're concerned about it just as a new Israeli government has been announced," said spokesman Jeff Rathke, who added, "Moving forward with construction of housing units in east Jerusalem is damaging."
Robert Serry, formerly the UN envoy for the Middle East, told the UN Security Council in March that the “settlements” were threatening to "kill the very possibility of reaching peace", adding that he did not "know if it is already too late."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)