Israeli settlement activity worries U.N.

June 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, June 27 (UPI) -- The number of Palestinians displaced by Israeli settlement activity has increased more than 80 percent since 2010, a U.N. special envoy said.

Richard Falk, U.N. special envoy on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, called on the Israeli government to halt its settlement activity. This year, he said, Israeli authorities razed more than 330 Palestinian structures, which led to an 87 percent increase in displacement since 2010.

Falk said Israeli authorities should end the activity and meet international legal obligations.

"Such demolitions amount to violations against 2,100 Palestinians who have been affected (this year)," he said in a statement.

London and its European counterparts have described Israeli settlement activity as illegal under international law.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met this week with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority calling for both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to exercise restraint.

"We have confirmed to Mr. President (Putin) that the only path leading to peace in the region lies through negotiations with Israel," Abbas was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

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