(photo credit: DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS)
Israel's decision to build the first new government-sanction settlement in a quarter-century elicited a 75-word condemnation from from UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday morning.
The statement said that Guterres “took notice with disappointment and alarm” at the decision by Israel “to build a new settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
“The Secretary-General has consistently stressed that there is no Plan B for Israelis and Palestinians to live together in peace and security. He condemns all unilateral actions that, like the present one, threaten peace and undermine the two-state solution,” the statement read. “Settlement activities are illegal under international law and present an obstacle to peace.”
Earlier, a senior US Administration official told The Jerusalem Post
that US President Donald Trump accepted Israel's rationale for the construction of the new settlement, which Netanyahu promised to those families evacuated from Amona in December.
In addition to the construction of the new settlement, the security cabinet decided late Thursday night that it would significantly restrain settlement construction in consideration of Trump's concerns on the matter as he attempts to re-launch a diplomatic process in the region.
The security cabinet said it would limit future building – where possible – to the built-up areas within existing settlements.
White House says Israel's new settlement activity undermines peace process
This will be done in an effort to limit the “footprint” of the settlements.
US criticism of settlement construction has long been that their expansion takes over more land of a future Palestinian state, an argument that Jerusalem believes loses much merit if all the construction is taking place within the existing built-up areas of the settlements. Michael Wilner contributed to this report