March 24th, 2010
07:16 PM ET

U.N. chief: Israeli settlement plans 'unacceptable'

In a rare direct rebuke to a U.N. member state, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the U.N. Security Council in New York Wednesday that Israel's latest settlement expansion plans in East Jerusalem are "unacceptable."

Freshly returned from a visit to the Middle East, Ban also urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-start peace talks "without delay," but cautioned that there is currently a "crisis of confidence" and said that "there have been too many negative facts being created on the ground, and these need to stop."

Earlier this month, Israel announced the construction of 1,600 new settlement units in East Jerusalem. On Tuesday, Israel announced plans to build another 20 settlement units in the majority Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem known as Sheikh Jarrah.

Palestinians fear that Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem - which they see as a future capital of a Palestinian state - will prejudge final status negotiations on the borders of Israel and Palestine. Fears were exacerbated recently when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "from our point of view, construction in Jerusalem is like construction in Tel Aviv." Many Palestinians saw Netanyahu's reference as another way of saying that all of Jerusalem belongs inside Israel's borders.

Ban reaffirmed to the Security Council the U.N.'s condemnation of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and stressed that "all settlement activity" by Israel "is illegal."

Summarzing his visit to the West Bank, Ban observed that "Palestinians need to be able to use more of their land - for housing, agriculture, industry, water, construction materials, and more." He also claimed to have "strongly advised Israeli find a way to further ease the constraints that restrict Palestinian life."

The secretary general praised the efforts of Palestinian Authority leaders at establishing political stability in the West Bank, saying he was "impressed" by their state-building efforts. He added that the state's leadership has become "more transparent, accountable and effective." The West Bank is controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

Ban also noted that instability and violence in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip are taking a human toll, especially on Palestinian children. He also noted the recent death of an Israeli citizen via Palestinian militant rocket from Gaza.

The U.N. is already deeply involved in running camps and providing basic services in Gaza and Ban said that the U.N. will deliver more "far-reaching proposals" in the coming months. Ban stressed that the continued closure of the Gaza border crossings by Israel is "morally unacceptable and counter-productive."

The secretary general warned that negotiations between Israel and Palestine will be met with violence and strong opposition, but that such provocations should not delay diplomacy.

"The parties themselves must take steps to meet obligations and build trust," said Ban.

- From CNN's Terence Burke and Holly Glibert

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Filed under: Israel • United Nations • World
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Bob

    lol "freshly" ? anyway, the UN should be a leader in the fight against anti-semitism; instead it is a dark promoter of anti-semitism

    March 26, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anon

    If the Israelis continue to build on palesinian teritory then they have no right to complain about getting hit by Qassam rockets. They are simply causing the problem, I am glad that the UN has finally at least try to stand up for the palestinans.

    March 26, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. amq

    There are tens of UN resolutions against Israel and the list of UN "statements" against Israel keep piling up. They are not making any difference so the are meaningless.

    March 26, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. amq

    For those that claim the land belongs to Israel because they lived in it first, I say re-check the history books. The Canaanites were there before King Solomon brought the original Israelites to it. The Canaanites are the ancestors of the Palestinians. They are like the Pharaohs to the modern Egyptians.

    March 26, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. amq

    History also tells us that the original Israelite state ruled for about 500 years only. They were then replaced by Assyrians, then Babylonians, Persians, Greek, Romans, Byzantines, Umayyad (Islam starts here), Abbasids (Islamic still), Crusaders, Ayyubid (Islam), Mamluks (Islam), Ottoman (Islam), original Zionist immigrants & Jewish Colonization, WW1 Britain and France occupation, and last and very least today's Israel.

    So who owns the land?! If you pick old occupants – it seems everybody had ruled it at one point or another so each should get a piece. If you pick first residents, it's the Canaanites (the Palestinians' ancestors). If you go by the number of years each group resided in the land, the Palestinians win by far. If you pick the strongest, it's obviously Israel. But for how long Israel will stay the strongest? I would give it no more than 50 years, ... unless the Israelis change their ways and start accepting having an independent Palestinian state to the east.

    March 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. marc m

    UN not happy with Israel? ooo the same UN that watched almost a million human beings get butchered with machettes in Rwanda and other cowardly actions?? that UN ??

    Israel doesnt need to listen or obey to anyone on this planet !! Long live Israel and to hell with everyone else,

    im still waiting for the day someone pushes the IDF to it's last bit of patience!!! it will be a delight to see the outcome.

    March 26, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. guest

    Bosnia, Tibet, Rwanda, Palestine and many others suffering...
    That puts you Israelis in a very "admiring" company.

    March 26, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. guest

    And for all you religious extremists.
    Have you heard for evolution?

    March 26, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Geoff

    I am sick to death of this country being held hostage to the needs of Israel.

    I support its right to exist and don't find the Palestinians a particularly likeable bunch either but so many of our international relationships are constrained and complicated needlessly by links to this so called "ally" This wealthy, powerful,massively armed country is the recipient of more of our foreign aid than any other. Egypt is second as we have to pay them to make nice with..guess who??? Israel has nothing we need: Not oil, not trade of any significant amount, nothing. They lie to us and spy on us whenever it suits them and laugh in our face when we suggest they stop stealing land and make peace. With "allies" like Israel who needs enemies? Yet no politician of any party or persuasion dares to challenge them for fear of losing the big Jewish donors.... enough is enough, let them go their way and take their lumps.

    March 27, 2010 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Esteban

    Some time ago a group of people killed innocent civilians in attempt to defend themselves from an "occupier". Where this Palestinians waging Jihad on Israel? No they were Jewish terrorists bombing a hotel full of innocent people.

    This same people became the future rulers of Israel. Why should Israelis be so surprised about the tactics used by Hamas? They learnt them from the best terrorist organization, Irgun.

    March 27, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. George Estephan

    Israel is the biggest TERRORIST BULLY on the block, they steal your land and dare you to come get it.
    If you understand this concept you will know why Israel does not care about U.N. resolutions. They feel they can conquer any one, any where & at any time.

    March 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tit-for-Tat

    If the Israelies claim the historic land of palestine by a promise from GOD, the muslims are also fulfilling their duties to destroy Israel as ordered by their GOD! If we are supporting one to follow GOD's words, we should be fair enough and support the other. Or, just stay out of it!

    April 2, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
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