UN concerned over Israeli plan

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters in New York on November 29, 2012.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has once again voiced concerns about Israel’s new settlement plans on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, urging the regime to put an end to its expansionist policies.

The UN chief is following “with concern” the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans of illegal settlement construction in the E1 area, UN deputy spokesman, Eduardo del Buey said on Monday.

Despite international condemnations, Israel has announced new plans to construct 170 new settler units and 84 guest rooms in the West Bank region.

E1 project aims at connecting the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim to East al-Quds (Jerusalem), about six kilometers away. The plan will cut off the northern part of the West Bank from the south.

Ban further threw his weight behind a recent Palestinian demonstration at the site of Israel’s new settlement projects, which was broken up by Israeli forces, urging Israel to respect Palestinians’ right to peaceful protests.

On Sunday, Israeli troops forcibly evacuated a protest camp, set up by Palestinian and foreign activists at Israel’s upcoming settlement sites in the occupied West Bank.

According to witnesses, at least six activists were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces.

The UN secretary-general has repeatedly criticized Israel for its E1 settlement, calling the settlements illegal under international law.

Israel is globally condemned for its continued construction of Jewish settlements on the occupied territories.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in the 1967 war and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.