Ban concerned at Israel's announced seizure of West Bank landtext_fields
United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over Israel's plan to declare nearly 1,000 acres of land in Bethlehem as "state land," saying such seizure is illegal and counterproductive to pursuing a two-State solution with Palestine.
"The seizure of such a large swathe of land risks paving the way for further settlement activity, which – as the United Nations has reiterated on many occasions – is illegal under international law and runs totally counter to the pursuit of a two-State solution," Ban's spokesperson said in a statement here yesterday.
The Secretary-General voiced alarm by the Israeli authorities' announcement to declare as so-called "state land" nearly 1,000 acres of land in the Bethlehem area of the West Bank.
The UN Chief called on Israel to "heed the calls of the international community" to refrain from settlement activity.
He also urged Israel to abide by its commitments under international law and the Quartet Road Map – the plan which calls for Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace and within secure borders.
Senior UN officials, including Ban, have repeatedly urged both parties to exercise prudence and to avoid taking unilateral actions on the ground that would further diminish the chances of reaching a negotiated final peace agreement.
According to the Israeli military, the move was a political decision made after the June killing of three Israeli teenagers snatched in the same area, known to Israelis as the Gush Etzion settlement bloc.