Mladenov calls upon Israel to stop settlement policy describing it as unilateral steps “disrupt stability”
- 1616 Defa Okundu
Commenting on instructions given by the Israeli Prime Minister to build 3,500 units in the West Bank settlements located in area E1, the UN Middle East peace coordinator called on Israeli authorities to refrain from such a move.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Nikolai Maldenov said that planning to build 3,500 units in the controversial area “E1” in the occupied West Bank is a matter of concern.
“If the construction is carried out in the E1 area, it will cut off any communication between the north and south of the West Bank – Nikolai Maldenov”
“I urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from taking such unilateral steps, which would destabilize and further reduce the prospects for the resumption of Israeli and Palestinian negotiations on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements” he said.
The UN official warned against the consequences of this step, saying: "If the construction is carried out in the E1 area, this will cut off any communication between the north and south of the West Bank, and will undermine the chances of establishing a geographically connected and viable Palestinian state as part of the negotiated two-state solution."
Settlement raises international concern
Mladenov also expressed his deep concern over the Israeli announcement last week of plans to build 5,200 housing units in two settlements near Bethlehem and Beit Safafa in southern East Jerusalem, stressing that all settlements are illegal under international law and remain an obstacle to peace.
E-1 is a large area between the settlement of Maale Adumim and East Jerusalem, linking the northern West Bank with its southern and Bedouin Palestinian population. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement on Tuesday said: "I immediately instructed the deployment of a construction plan for 3,500 housing units in the E1 area."
Mladenov briefed the Security Council on Monday (24 February) on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, and stressed in his briefing that the time had come "to find a way back to a mutually agreed framework of mediation" to resume meaningful negotiations toward a two-state solution.
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