Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that the Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank would always remain part of Israel.
Netanyahu made the remark during a ceremony to mark Israeli Arbor Day in the settlement of Maale Adumim in the West Bank on Sunday, BBC reported.
Israel has long insisted on maintaining a permanent hold over certain groups of settlements, including those Netanyahu referred to Sunday.
Netanyahu’s remarks came on a day when the American envoy, George J. Mitchell, shuttled between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a bid to revive the long-stalled Middle East peace process.
Netanyahu’s comments have angered Palestinians, who want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem Al-Quds.
"This is an unacceptable act that destroys all the efforts being exerted by Senator Mitchell in order to bring back the parties to the negotiating table," Palestinian Authority Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told the Associated Press.
The UN has repeatedly urged Israel to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem Al-Quds.