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Settlements are illegal, Ban tells Israel

Dec. 3, 2012 at 11:13 AM

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Continued Israeli settlement activity in Palestinian land would strike a "fatal blow" to peace efforts, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

Palestinian leaders last week secured support from the U.N. General Assembly to upgrade their status at the world body. The measure means the Palestinian government has more access to world institutions like the international courts.

After the vote last week, the Israeli government announced plans for settlement activity in what's considered Palestinian land.

A spokesman for Ban said settlements planned in the so-called E-1 envelope were an assault on efforts meant to bring peace to the region.

"Settlements are illegal under international law and should the E-1 settlement be constructed, it would represent an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution," the statement read.

Palestinian negotiators said their efforts at the General Assembly would strengthen peace efforts, though the U.S. and Israeli governments disagreed.

The British government announced Monday that it summoned the Israeli envoy to London to protest the settlements, however.

"We have called on the Israeli government to reverse this decision," a statement from the British government read.

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