UN Mideast envoy slams Israel's renewed building

Robert Serry : settlement construction "illegal under international law," says "will only further undermine trust."

October 21, 2010 22:34
1 minute read.
Pisgat Ze'ev construction

Pisgat Zeev construction tractors 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

JERUSALEM — The UN's Mideast envoy Robert Serry on Thursday criticized Israel's renewed building in West Bank settlements in response to an Associated Press investigation.

The AP report showed that Israel has begun building at least 544 apartments since a 10-month building moratorium in the settlements expired late last month.

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In a statement, Serry called the AP report "alarming." He said settlement construction is "illegal under international law" and "will only further undermine trust."

The AP survey, while not comprehensive, marks the most extensive effort yet to quantify the construction. It was based on visits to 16 of the West Bank's more than 120 settlements as well as phone calls to more than four dozen settlements and interviews with construction workers and mayors.

"This figure is alarming and is another indicator that Israel is not serious about the peace process, which is supposed to be about ending the occupation," said Ghassan Khatib, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' self-rule government in the West Bank.

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