UN chief calls on Israel to change policy after reported take-over of West Bank land

Two young residents from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Acqba Jaber camp for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank. The camp is located just outside of Jericho. UN Photo/Stephenie Hollyman

21 January 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for “substantial policy changes on the ground” by Israel, voicing deep concern at reports that the Government has declared of 370 acres in the occupied West Bank south of Jericho as so-called “state land.”

“If implemented, this declaration would constitute the largest land appropriation by Israel in the West Bank since August 2014,” a statement issued by his spokesman said last night.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his call for substantial policy changes on the ground by Israel that will improve the lives of Palestinians. Settlement activities are a violation of international law and run counter to the public pronouncements of the Government of Israel supporting a two-state solution to the conflict.”

The two-state solution forms the main plank of efforts by the diplomatic Quartet, comprising the UN, European Union, Russia and the United States, to solve the Middle East crisis, with two states – Israel and Palestine – living side by side in peace and security.

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