On Friday, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, expressed his discontent [UN news centre] with Israel’s latest decision [JURIST report] to build settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and repeated his previous calls for a two-state solution to resolve the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In particular, a spokesman for Guterres said the UN official “condemns all unilateral actions that, like the present one, threaten peace and undermine the two-state solution.” This condemnation follows in line with recent international ire for Israel’s actions in building settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. A recent proposal to resolve the issue noted the Israeli settlements are at odds with international law and are generally in conflict with lasting peace in the region.
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. In November Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously approved [JURIST report] the Formalization Bill to legalize the West Bank outposts. In March 2016 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 of that same year 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.