United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized the continued building of settlements in the West Bank, calling them illegal and saying he is "very concerned at the lack of progress towards peace," speaking to a UN General Assembly committee on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Friday, AFP reported.

Ban said: “Settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal under international law, contravene the Road Map obligations of Israel, undermine confidence, prejudge the outcome of the permanent status negotiations and hamper efforts at bringing the parties back to the negotiating table," according to the report.

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The move followed the submission of a UN Security Council draft resolution on Wednesday Sources said the proposal was brought to the table in order to show the Palestinians’ and Lebanese’ seriousness of intent on the issue of settlements, but with the idea that the resolution would not be brought to a vote until next month at the earliest.

It condemns “the continuation of settlement activities by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” as well as “all other measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Territory, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.”condemning Israel's settlement activity and demanding it “immediately and completely” cease all settlement activities “in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

The draft resolution, sponsored by 120 countries, was introduced to place the issue before the Security Council’s jurisdiction. However, it was not brought to a vote.

The matter was brought to the Security Council despite the opposition of the United States. America’s representatives have repeatedly asserted their belief that the Security Council is not the proper forum for discussions of the peace process, and that bringing the matter up would not be a “productive step.”

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she strongly opposes efforts made by the Palestinian Authority to submit a resolution to UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlements, AFP reported.

"The only way that there will be a resolution of the conflict... is through a negotiated settlement," Clinton said. "Therefore we do not see action at the UN or any other forum as being helpful in bringing about this desired outcome," the report cited Clinton as saying.

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