The UN chief says a Jerusalem planning body's approval of a plan to raze 22 Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem to make room for an Israeli tourist center would be illegal.
Ban Ki-moon's office issued a statement Wednesday saying the planned demolitions in the area of Silwan "are contrary to international law, and to the wishes of Palestinian residents."
The moves to eject Palestinians from their homes could raise tensions in the divided city and deepen the conflict with the Obama administration.
Ban's statement said "the current moves are unhelpful" because they do not help build trust to support political negotiations.
It said Israel's government has a "responsibility to ensure provocative steps are not taken" that would heighten tensions in the city.