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article imagePalestinians tell UN Israel must face consequences for settlements

By AFP     Oct 19, 2016 in World

Israel must face consequences for its failure to heed international appeals to stop building Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, the Palestinian envoy to the UN told the Security Council on Wednesday.

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour accused Israel of eroding prospects for a future Palestinian state and creating a "one-state reality" that was tantamount to apartheid.

"The global calls for cessation of Israeli settlement activities and crimes against the Palestinian people must be backed with serious, practical measures to compel Israeli compliance with the law," Mansour told a council debate on the Middle East.

"There must be consequences if Israel continues to violate international law."

The United Nations maintains that settlements are illegal and has repeatedly called on Israel to halt them, but UN officials have reported a surge in construction over the past months.

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov told the council that Israel was pressing ahead with new settlements, citing a recent decision to build an initial 98 out of 300 housing units in Shilo, in the West Bank.

Mladenov said this planned settlement will "drive a wedge between north and south in the West Bank and jeopardize the contiguity of a future Palestinian state."

Arab governments are discussing a proposed draft Security Council resolution demanding a halt to Israeli settlements, even though a similar measure was vetoed by the United States in 2011.

Arab ministers are to meet later this month in Cairo to decide on whether to move forward with such a measure and present it to the council.

Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon did not mention settlements in his remarks, but he took a swipe at "calls for a one-sided resolution against Israel."

Danon slammed a resolution adopted this week at the UN cultural agency UNESCO condemning Israel's actions restricting access to the Al-Aqsa mosque in east Jerusalem, known as the Temple Mount to Jews.

"These attempts to cut us off from our homeland and our heritage will not succeed. We will remain in our land and in our capital of Jerusalem, forever," Danon said.

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