Palestinian UN envoy: Settlement construction proves Israel prefers to stay an occupying power

Riyad Mansour calls on international community to hold Israel accountable for "war crimes."

Palestinian UN observer Riyad Mansour 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Chip East)
Palestinian UN observer Riyad Mansour 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Chip East)
Continued settlement construction proves that Israel "would rather stay an occupying power" to being a partner for peace, Palestinian UN observer Riyad Mansour said, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported on Saturday.
"Israel continues construction of its illegal settlements, including seizing and looting land, as well as forced displacement of Palestinian families, while building thousands of housing units," Mansour wrote in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Presidency of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly.
In these acts, Israel "shamelessly shows disrespect for international law and the international efforts to support the peace process," he said.
"Each of these acts have a serious effect on Palestinian land and Palestinian rights, including the right to self-determination and the feasibility of a two-state solution," he warned.
Mansour called on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its settlement construction and the "displacement of Palestinian population," acts he labelled as "war crimes."
Mansour lamented that "the hopes of reaching a just and lasting solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "have faded as a result of the illegal actions taken by Israel."
The failure to stop Israeli settlement construction will "force the State of Palestine to consider all means, diplomatic, legal and political" to protect Palestinian lands.
He also called on the UN to condemn the attempts to "Judaize" east Jerusalem by "displacing more than 1,500 Palestinians in the neighborhoods Ras Khamis and Ras Shehadeh."
On Thursday, the Palestinian Authority announced that it was “seriously studying” filing immediate complaints against Israel with international courts and forums in a bid to halt construction in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.
The PA Foreign Ministry said that the complaints would be designed to “preserve peace and the negotiations” with Israel. The ministry said that the PA was seeking a condemnation of Israel for violating international law.
Strongly condemning recent decisions by the Israeli Government to build new housing units in settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods, the ministry called on the international community, especially the US and UN, to do more than issue denunciations of Israel.
Khaled Abu Tomeh contributed to this report.