The United Nations says Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal and the stalemated peace process must commence.
Under Secretary General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe, in a briefing to the Security Council, said on Thursday that Tel Aviv’s continued settlement activities are in clear violation of its international obligations.
While noting what he said were legitimate Palestinian security concerns, Pascoe stressed that sustainable security will best be achieved by intensified cooperation, the continued empowerment of the Palestinian Authority’s security efforts and performance, and the curtailment of incursions by the Israeli military into the Palestinian areas.
The UN, he said, remains deeply concerned at the current stalemate in the Middle East peace process and voiced hope that both the Israelis and the Palestinians will accept a proposal put forward to restart talks.
The Palestinian Authority has conditioned the resumption of peace talks to a complete freeze in Israel’s settlement expansion, while Tel Aviv has ignored such calls.
Another point Pascoe stressed was the poor quality goods entering Gaza through the Israeli crossings.
"Sufficient materials to restart civilian reconstruction are still not entering Gaza through the Israeli crossings," he said and expressed disappointment that there has been no satisfactory Israeli response to the UN’s proposal to "complete stalled projects for housing, schools and health facilities."