UN Special Envoy Warns Israel's New Settlement Plan to Undermine Two-State Solution
© AP Photo / Oded BaliltyThis June 30, 2020, file photo, shows a view of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ma'ale Efrayim in the Jordan Valley. One of the world's best-known human rights groups says Israel is guilty of the international crimes of apartheid and persecution. Human Rights Watch cites discriminatory policies toward Palestinians within Israel's own borders and in the occupied territories. In so doing, the New York-based group joins a growing number of commentators and rights groups that consider Israel and the territories as a single entity in which Palestinians are denied basic rights that are granted to Jews. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)
© AP Photo / Oded Balilty
UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, warned the Security Council on Tuesday that the construction of almost 3,500 settlement units by Israel in the West Bank will significantly undermine the chances of reaching a two-state solution.
"On 4 and 18 October, the Israeli Civil Administration held discussions on objections to two settlement housing plans for a total of nearly 3,500 units in the strategic E1 area in the West Bank. I am concerned that Israeli authorities continue to consider plans for construction in E1," Wennesland said.
"If constructed, these units would sever the connection between the northern and southern West Bank, significantly undermining the chances for establishing a viable and contiguous Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-State solution," he continued.
The UN special envoy stressed that all settlements are illegal under international law and prevent achieving peace in the region.
Israel and Palestinians have been in conflict for decades. Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli government refuses to recognise Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity, and builds settlements in the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.