The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday asked the UN Security Council to
intervene to halt Israeli settlement activities.
In a letter to the
presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly, the Palestinian
envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said that Israel was obligated by the road map
peace plan to freeze settlement activities.
“Israel continues directly to
neglect and violate all international commitments,” the letter said.
on Monday, a small panel of Israeli cabinet members decided to change the status
of three outposts — Bruchin, Rehelim and Sansana – to authorized
In the past Israel promised the international community that
it would not create new settlements.
The government said the
authorizations did not violate the pledge because decisions were taken by the
government more than a decade ago to legalize the three settlements, but for
technical reasons, the decisions were never executed.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on Israel to cancel
“I am extremely concerned about the decision... I
call upon them to reverse this decision," she said. “The EU has repeatedly
called on Israel to end all settlement activity. Settlements are illegal under
international law, an obstacle to peace and threaten the viability of a
“Such measures run counter to the spirit of the
Quartet statement of 11 April 2012, which expressed concern about unilateral and
provocative actions, including continued settlement activity,” Ashton
The UN also criticized the move. The US on Tuesday said that such
actions were not helpful to the peace process.
In its letter to the UN
Security Council, the PA said that all Israeli settlement activity in the West
Bank, along with Jewish building in east Jerusalem, was illegal and must be
Ongoing construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem was
proof that Israel did not want a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines,
“All settlements built by the Israeli occupation on the
Palestinian occupied land, including east Jerusalem, are illegal, whether it
were [sic] called settlements, outposts or even communities,” Mansour wrote in
He said the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibited Israel from
establishing settlements in occupied territories, where Article 49  of the
convention states that the “occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts
of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
condemned the settlement construction as a war crime and a “major obstacle to
peace.” He urged the Security Council to act immediately to stop the “illegal
actions which are destroying the contiguity, integrity and unity of Palestinian
In response to the letter, an Israeli official urged the
Palestinians to deal with the issue of settlements within the framework of
negotiations rather than through complaints to the UN.
called on the the Palestinians to hold direct negotiations with
“We are ready to discuss the settlements and all other core
issues in the framework of direct negotiations,” he said.