The United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, says Israel’s partial hold-up of settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories is only a slowdown not a settlement freeze.
Serry said Israel doesn’t fulfill its commitments to the Road Map for Peace in the Middle East. East Jerusalem Al-Quds should be part of the freeze and Tel Aviv should commit itself to ending the so-called natural progress of settlements and dismantling the illegal outposts erected by the settlers since March 2001, he added.
The UN Middle East Envoy went on to note that Israel is currently building more than 3000 housing units in East Jerusalem Al-Quds. In addition, it has given the green light for the construction of more than 28 public facilities in the settlements.
Serry pointed out that the partial settlement slowdown announced by Israel does not include occupied East Jerusalem Al-Quds. These settlements are illegal and should be dismantled instead of being granted further budgets.
The Israeli cabinet on December 13 granted additional budget allocations to more than 110.000 settlers living in isolated settlements in the West Bank.
The move, which came just weeks after Israel imposed a ten-month moratorium on new buildings in the West Bank settlements, defies a call by the international community for a complete halt on settlements considered illegal by the UN regulations.
Israel has repeatedly been called on to halt the construction of illegal settlements including the so-called "natural growth" in existing settlements in the West Bank.
Tel Aviv, however, claims that it is not constructing ‘new’ settlements but only building new units in the existing settlements.