UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has criticized the Israeli government for legalizing the status of three illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
"All settlement activity is illegal under international law," said Ban on Tuesday, adding that he was "deeply troubled" by Tel Aviv’s unlawful move.
The UN chief made the remarks after the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the legalization of the outposts of Bruchin and Rechelim in northern West Bank and Sansana in the southern part of the occupied Palestinian territory.
Ban noted that the regime has an international obligation to refrain from "provocations" like constructing new illegal settlements in the occupied lands.
"Every single settlement built on Palestinian land is illegal," Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat said.
Around 350 Israeli settlers currently live in Bruchin, while some 240 settlers live in Rechelim. Nearly 240 more settlers reside in Sansana, which is located near the city of al-Khalil.
Outposts are newer and smaller Israeli settlements.
The international community regards all the Israeli settlements across the West Bank as illegal under international law, whether authorized by the Tel Aviv regime or not.
On February 22, the Israeli government approved the construction of 500 new illegal units in the West Bank settlement of Shilo, also legalizing more than 200 homes built in the West Bank without primary permits from Tel Aviv.
About 500,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as the number of settlers continues to climb.