The United Nations (UN) stated on Friday that Israel has not yet taken any steps towards stopping illegal settlements in Palestinian territory. According to UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov, instead of working to halt the illegal settlements, Israel has authorized “a high rate” [Al Jazeera news report] of settlements in contravention of international law. The UNSC Resolution 2334 [text, PDF], which passed with a 14-0 vote at the end of 2016, called upon Israel to stop the development of these settlements “not only because they’re illegal, but [also because] they are the main obstacle in the path of the two-state solution.” Currently, there are 430,000 Israelis settled in the Palestinian West Bank and 200,000 Israeli’s in East Jerusalem.
While Israel and Palestine have a troubled past [HRW backgrounder], the issue of settlements in the West Bank have escalated tensions in the last decade. Iin November Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously approved [JURIST report] the Formalization Bill to legalize the West Bank outposts. In March the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said [JURIST report] that the office is concerned about the apparent extra-judicial execution of a Palestinian man in the West Bank. In January Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged [JURIST report] businesses to cease operations in Israel settlements. In August 2015 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged both sides of the conflict [JURIST report] to reconcile and move towards peace after an attack occurred in the West Bank village of Duma, where Jewish extremists allegedly set fire to a Palestinian home while a family slept inside. Last April HRW alleged [HRW report] that Israeli settlement farmers in the occupied West Bank are using Palestinian child laborers in dangerous conditions in violation of international laws.