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UN: illegal settlements in East Jerusalem threatening hopes for peace

[JURIST] UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov warned [UN News Centre report] on Monday that continued illegal settlements in East Jerusalem are threatening the hopes for a two-state solution in the area and undermining Palestinian belief in peace prospects.

Mladenov's report [text, PDF] highlights Israel's plans for developing more than 2,300 housing units in July, including about 1,600 units expanding settlement into the northern region of East Jerusalem and the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. According to Mladenov, eviction proceedings are underway for 180 Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, 60 of whom, including a 50-year resident family, are from Sheikh Jarrah.

Mladenov's report concluded:

Israel did not "cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard," as called for by the resolution. Since June 20, Israel's illegal settlement activities have continued at a high rate, a consistent pattern over the course of the year. ... In addition to illegal settlements, the practice of demolishing Palestinian structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and displacing Palestinians undermines the prospects for peace. Continued violence against civilians and incitement perpetuate mutual fear and suspicion, while impeding any efforts to bridge the gaps between the two sides. ... While all initiatives to improve the Palestinian economy are welcome, more needs to be done, as part of a political process aimed at establishing a Palestinian State. Economic development, critical as it is, is no substitute for sovereignty and statehood.
Mladenov closed with an appeal to the international community to help "establish a peaceful, prosperous and secure future—for Palestinians, for Israelis and for the entire region.

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