Israel has ignored UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which called on it to halt settlement activity and instead accelerated such action, UN envoy Nickolay Mladnenov told the 15-member body on Friday.Similarly, he said, the Palestinians, particularly Hamas, have not heeded that resolution’s call for an end to violence and incitement.“The resolution calls on Israel to take steps ‘to cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem.’ No such steps have been taken during the reporting period,” he said.Mladenov’s report is his first on UNSC Resolution 2334 since it was passed in December.In the last three months, there has been “a notable increase in statements, announcements and decisions related to settlement construction and expansion,” said Mladenov, who is the special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.He noted, in particular, the approval and advancement of 5,500 new settler housing units in the West Bank, as well as the approval of the Settlements Law, which retroactively legalizes some 4,000 homes on private Palestinian property.“This law marks a significant shift in the long-standing Israeli position concerning the legal status of the occupied territory,” he said.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also announced his intention to build a new settlement for the residents of the former Amona outpost that was destroyed by security forces in February, Mladenov said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Eighty percent of the settlement activity had occurred in the settlement blocs and 20% in the isolated settlements, Mladenov said.Israel holds that it can build in the settlement blocs, which it believes will be part of its final borders in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians.The United States and Israel are in the midst of talks to formalize this understanding. Resolution 2334, condemns any settlement activity over the pre-1967 lines.Mladenov told the Security Council: “Let me reiterate that the United Nations considers all settlement activities to be illegal under international law and one of the main obstacles to peace."“Many of the advancements that were made in the past three months will further sever the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state and accelerate the fragmentation of the West Bank,” he said.Separately, Mladenov spoke with the Security Council against Israeli demolitions of illegal Palestinian and Beduin building in Area C of the West Bank.“According to OCHA, 145 structures were demolished in Area C. This has affected the homes of some 220 people, while another 4,000 people were impacted, directly or indirectly, by the destruction of other property and infrastructure,” he said.In east Jerusalem, “48 structures were demolished and two seized, displacing 80 people and affecting 210 people,” he added.With respect to Palestinian violence and incitement, he said: “Reactions by Hamas officials to terror attacks against Israelis have been particularly reprehensible and deserve condemnation."“Fatah’s social media pages continued to commemorate perpetrators of previous attacks against Israeli civilians,” he said, but noted that Israeli politicians also engaged in incitement, including their negation of Palestinian statehood.Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement on Friday: “There can be no moral equivalency between the building of homes and murderous terrorism. The only impediment to peace is Palestinian violence and incitement.”Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters: “Settlements need to be stopped, not only because they are illegal, but [because] they are the main obstacle in the path of the two-state solution.”
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Reuters contributed to this report.