14 January 2013 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon again called on Israel today to withdraw new settlement plans for East Jerusalem while stressing that protests over the plans, as well as reactions to them, must remain peaceful, noting that they had been largely non-violent so far.
“The Secretary-General is following with concern developments regarding the announced plans for Israeli settlement construction in the so-called E1 area, on which he expressed his grave disappointment in his statement of 2 December,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.
In the previous statement, released a few days after the E1 plans were announced as part of 3,000 proposed new units, Mr. Ban warned that the proposed settlement could completely cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and would represent an “almost fatal blow” to remaining chances of securing a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“In this particularly difficult period for the region, all concerned should make serious efforts towards creating the conditions for a resumption of meaningful peace negotiations and to protect the future of the peace process, which is in danger,” Mr. Ban said through today’s statement, reiterating as well that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law.
Mr. Ban noted that recent Palestinian demonstrations in the E1 area, as well as the Israeli evacuation of the protesters, were largely non-violent.
“The Secretary-General stresses the importance for protests to continue to remain peaceful and for the right to peaceful protest to be fully respected,” the spokesperson said.
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