UN chief says Israeli settlements `undermine trust`

Last Updated: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 00:32

Rabat: Israeli settlement building in the
Occupied Territories is undermining trust in the peace
process, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said in a letter
made public on Thursday.

"The coming months will be decisive in determining if we
can move towards direct negotiations" between Palestinians and
Israelis, said the letter to a UN committee on the rights of
Palestinians, meeting in Rabat for two days.
"Settlement building continues to undermine trust and to
cause trouble" in the occuped Palestinian territories, warned
the secretary-general.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri told the
meeting: "There cannot be peace in the region without a
Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem.

"The UN has to play its role in this case..." he added.

The Palestinians grudgingly agreed to relaunch indirect
US-brokered peace talks with Israel in May but have said they
will not move to direct negotiations without a complete
settlement freeze including in east Jerusalem.
Israel annexed the eastern part of the city after
occupying it in the 1967 Six Day War in a move not recognised
internationally and today considers all of Jerusalem its
"eternal, undivided" capital.

The presence of nearly a half million Israelis in more
than 120 settlements scattered across the West Bank and east
Jerusalem has long been seen as a major threat to the
establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state.

PTI



First Published: Friday, July 2, 2010 - 00:32
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