UN chief says Israeli settlements `undermine trust`
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
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.
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