UN envoy slams Israel’s plan for new housing in East Jerusalem

August 12th, 2011 - 9:35 pm ICT by BNO News  

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations has said Israel’s announced plan to develop new housing units in East Jerusalem is a “provocative action” which undermines the peace process with Palestinians.

Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, expressed alarm at Israel’s plans and noted that the Quartet - the diplomatic grouping of the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States - condemned it when its initial planning stage was announced last year.

“If confirmed, this provocative action undermines ongoing efforts by the international community to bring the parties back to negotiations,” Serry said.

Israel on Thursday announced plans to develop new units in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as capital of their future State, including 1,600 units in Ramat Shlomo. The announcement comes after Israel lifted last September a 10-month freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since Israel refused to extend the freeze. Palestine demanded a stop to settlement construction in the East Jerusalem and West Bank area as a key element for continuing peace talks, aimed at reaching a two-state solution based in the 1967 Green Line.

Serry said that the announcement comes only one week after a separate decision by the Israeli government to build 900 additional housing units in another settlement in East Jerusalem, which was criticized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He added that he would take up the latest issue with the Quartet, which is seeking peace based on two states, Israel and Palestine.

East Jerusalem was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967, when it also occupied the West Bank and Gaza, which the Palestinians seek as constituent parts of their State.

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