UN chief calls on Israel to freeze settlement-building

Progress toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians requires that Israel freeze its settlement-building in the West Bank, the U.N. secretary-general said Tuesday, calling the settlement activities "an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community."

Progress toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians requires that Israel freeze its settlement-building in the West Bank, the U.N. secretary-general said Tuesday, calling the settlement activities “an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community.”

Addressing the U.N. Security Council’s periodic Middle East debate, Ban Ki-moon also urged both sides to act now “to prevent the two-state solution from slipping away forever.” He condemned rocket fire from militant groups in Gaza into Israel but focused his strongest comments on Israel’s settlement-building.

“As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation,” the U.N. chief said.

Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war. Palestinians demand the territory as part of their future state. Last week, Israel approved the expropriation of some 370 acres (150 hectares) of land in another part of the territory.

Most of the international community views Israeli settlements in the territory as illegal or illegitimate.

The last four months have seen near-daily Palestinian attacks that have killed 25 Israelis and an American student. At least 149 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, about two-thirds of them identified by Israel as attackers. The rest have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

Israel blames the violence on Palestinian incitement. Palestinians say the attacks stem from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli military rule.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Ban’s comments “give a tail wind to terrorism,” and he said the U.N. “long ago lost its neutrality and its moral strength.”

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour later told reporters that all 15 council members acknowledged that Israel’s settlement building is “the main obstacle to any meaningful political process,” and he said the Palestinians are meeting with all council members to assess their readiness to act this year.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said the international community should create a “specific and credible political horizon” for a solution to the tensions in the region.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi said Israel should take the lead in calming tensions, and he said the Security Council “should seriously consider the question of providing international protection to the Palestinian people.” He gave no details, but Mansour said new council member Egypt would take the lead in exploring that issue.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, did not address settlement-building. He instead showed reporters what he called “terror dolls” that he said are used to teach hatred to Palestinian children.

The comments by Ban and others came after Netanyahu this week said his government is committed to West Bank settlements. Ban said he was “deeply troubled” by new reports that Israel’s government has approved plans for more than 150 new homes in settlements in the West Bank.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told the council that the United States “strongly opposes settlement activity” but added that “settlement activity can never in itself be an excuse for violence.”

Israel says the fate of the settlements should be resolved in peace talks, along with other core issues like security and borders.

Just Posted

An incredible closing ceremony capped off the 2019 Canada Winter Games. (File photo by SUSAN JUDGE/2019 Canada Winter Games)
2019 Canada Winter Games Legacy Fund Society hands out $655,000

35 not-for-profit groups across Alberta to get money

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and chief executive officer of Alberta Health Services, says COVID ICU patients have increased by more than 100 per cent in the past month. (Photo by The Government of Alberta)
Record number of people in ICU: says AHS president

The head of Alberta Health Services says hospital staff are treating more… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired goaltender Connor Ungar from the Brandon Wheat Kings, the team announced Monday. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer Rebels acquire goaltender Connor Ungar, forward Liam Keeler in separate trades

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired goaltender Connor Ungar from the Brandon… Continue reading

Alexander Michael Talbot, 29, was found guilty of operating a vehicle while prohibited, flight from police and vehicle theft in Red Deer provincial court recently. (Advocate file photo)
Man charged following police chases in central Alberta last summer is sentenced

Alexander Michael Talbot sentenced to 22 months in prison

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, exile Tibetans use the Olympic Rings as a prop as they hold a street protest against the holding of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, in Dharmsala, India. Groups alleging human-rights abuses in China are calling for a full boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which is sure to ratchet up pressure on the International Olympic Committee, athletes, sponsors, and sports federations. A coalition of activists representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others, issued a statement Monday, May 17, 2021 calling for the “full boycott,” eschewing lesser measures like “diplomatic boycotts" and negotiations with the IOC or China. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia, File)
AP Exclusive: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

AP Exclusive: Full-blown boycott pushed for Beijing Olympics

Canada's Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5 during the CP International competition at the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Canada's most decorated show jumper has withdrawn from consideration for the Tokyo Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze withdraws from Tokyo short list

Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze withdraws from Tokyo short list

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse questions a foul call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday, April 26, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Nurse says it was the COVID-19 outbreak in March that spiked his team's chances for a post-season run.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Chris O'Meara
Nurse faces a busy off-season, much busier if Canada qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Nurse faces a busy off-season, much busier if Canada qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Danielle Goyette speaks to reporters during a press conference in Toronto on Friday, November 10, 2017. Goyette has been named director of player development for the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and their American Hockey League affiliate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette together again on Toronto Maple Leafs staff

Hayley Wickenheiser, Danielle Goyette together again on Toronto Maple Leafs staff

Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11) falls on Nashville Predators center Yakov Trenin (13) during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, May 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Staal, Niederreiter lift Hurricanes past Predators 5-2

Staal, Niederreiter lift Hurricanes past Predators 5-2

Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20) watches the puck get past Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) on a shot by Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway during the first period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Monday, May 17, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Marchand scores in OT, Bruins beat Capitals to even series

Marchand scores in OT, Bruins beat Capitals to even series

Toronto Maple Leafs former players Darryl Sittler, centre, Johnny Bower, centre right, are joined by Ted Kennedy's son Mark for a ceremonial puck drop with Montreal Canadiens' Andrei Markov, left, and Toronto Maple Leafs' Dion Phaneuf, right, before NHL action in Toronto on Wednesday, October 8, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Leafs, Canadiens legends eagerly awaiting playoff series

Leafs, Canadiens legends eagerly awaiting playoff series

Conservative MP Ron Liepert rises during Question Period on Parliament Hill, Friday, March 10, 2017 in Ottawa. Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails from people wanting to talk about his party's climate plan have slowed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Western MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

Western MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

Most Read