Israeli settlement building 'alarming', says UN envoy

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Pastor Dale Morgan

Oct 21, 2010, 11:40:18 PM10/21/10
Perilous Times

Israeli settlement building 'alarming', says UN envoy

The UN's Middle East envoy on Thursday criticised Israel's renewed building in West Bank settlements.

Published: 12:04AM BST 22 Oct 2010

Israeli setters build 600 homes in less than a month

The Palestinians put direct peace talks with Israel on hold following the resumption of settlement construction on September 26 Photo: EPA

Israel has begun building at least 544 apartments since a 10-month building freeze expired late last month. Palestinians charge that construction in the settlements is aimed at preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the issue has brought recently renewed US-brokered peace talks to a standstill.

In a statement, UN envoy Robert Serry reports of the building "alarming." He said settlement construction is "illegal under international law" and "will only further undermine trust."

Despite intense US pressure, Israel has so far refused to renew the construction curbs, saying the settlement issue should be addressed in negotiations.

Israel also drew criticism on Thursday from former President Jimmy Carter, who is visiting Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

After touring east Jerusalem flashpoints where Jewish settlers have moved in to houses after Palestinians were evicted, Mr Carter expressed outrage.

"The suffering here under occupation and the deprivations of people in Gaza are evidence of the improper policies of the government of Israel," he said. "We will continue to work on a peaceful solution where the Israelis will withdraw from east Jerusalem, and let this be the capital of a Palestinian state."

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