NEW YORK – The UN Security Council will hold a meeting on October 14 to address Israeli settlement building.
News of the upcoming meeting emerged after UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov appeared in front of the Security Council on Monday and slammed Israel for continuing to build settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Mladenov said Israel’s actions go against the Quartet’s recommendations, which were published in July.
The Quartet’s report outlined what the group believes are the threats to the two-state solution and offered practical recommendations to enable an eventual return to peace negotiations.
“Its recommendations continue to be ignored, including by a surge in Israeli settlement- related announcements and continuing demolitions,” Mladenov said. “We heard that settlement construction is not an impediment to a two-state solution; that ‘a few houses’ are not a problem for peace,” he added.
“Let me ask in return: How will advancing the construction of over 1,700 housing units bring the parties closer to negotiated peace, uphold the two-state solution, create hope for the Palestinian people, or bring security to Israelis?”
The special coordinator told the council that, since July, Israel has advanced plans for more than 1,000 housing units in “settlements” in east Jerusalem and hundreds in the West Bank. Israel, he said, is examining plans for “new housing units for 100 Israelis on a portion of a military compound in Hebron that it has allocated for this purpose.”
Mladenov also pointed fingers at the Israeli government for advancing retroactive legalization of settler outposts.
“Let me be clear: No legal acrobatics can change the fact that all outposts – whether ‘legalized’ under Israeli law or not, whether located on state land, absentee land or private land – just like all settlements in Area C and East Jerusalem, remain illegal under international law,” he stated.
“It is difficult to read in these actions a genuine intention to work towards a viable two-state solution,” Mladenov added. “This appears to reinforce a policy, carried out over decades, that has enabled over half a million Israelis to settle in territory that was occupied militarily in 1967.”
Following the briefing, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour told media he believes it is the duty of the Security Council to act when it comes to settlements. According to him, simply reiterating the official position of the council is “meaningless.”
Mansour announced that a Security Council meeting on the issue would be held on October 14 under the informal UN mechanism known as the “Arria-formula.” The meeting, he said, will focus on practical steps to be taken against Israel’s settlement building.
Under this format, all of the Security Council’s 15 member states are not required to attend, but they are still expected to.
In reaction, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said Israel “will not apologize for building in our eternal capital of Jerusalem.”
“A Security Council meeting won’t change the situation on the ground. Only [when the other side] lets go of terrorism and demonstrates real intentions to go back to the negotiating table can we promote a true solution in our region.”