Outgoing United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon today urged Israeli lawmakers to reconsider a bill to legalize Israeli settlements built on private Palestinian land as Arab states mull putting forward a Security Council resolution on settlements.
“I strongly urge legislators to reconsider advancing this bill, which will have negative legal consequences for Israel and substantially diminish the chances for Arab-Israeli peace,” Ban told a UN Security Council briefing on the Middle East.
Israeli officials are concerned the bill could provide grounds for prosecution by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) December 16, 2016
In the past 50 years Israel has built about 120 formal settlements on the territory. As well as those settlements, which Israel fully supports, settlers have established more than 100 outposts, many on hilltops across the West Bank, often with tacit government support.
Under the proposed bill, 55 of the outposts will have official sanction, according to settlements watchdog Peace Now.
Deputy US Ambassador Michele Sison told the Security Council that Washington was “deeply disturbed” by the bill.
— IMEMC News (@imemcnews) December 7, 2016
“We believe the potential legalization of thousands of settlement housing units that are currently illegal under Israeli law would profoundly damage prospects for a two-state solution,” she said.
Ban also told the Security Council “the absence of Palestinian unity throughout the occupied territory presents an obstacle to the two-state solution.”
Diplomats said Arab ministers are due to meet next week to likely approve a draft resolution on the settlements issue that would then be circulated to the 15-member UN Security Council.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)