WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A U.N. committee said any move by the Israeli government to expand settlement activity would strike a "mortal blow" to the Middle East peace process.
Last month, members of the U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution that upgraded Palestine's status at the world body to that of a non-member observer state.
A statement from the U.N. Bureau of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian said the status upgrade reinforced efforts to bring peace to the region. After the vote, Israel announced plans for thousands of settlements in what's considered occupied Palestinian territory.
"Regrettably, the Israeli government responded to this clear expression of the collective will of the international community by adopting illegal reprisal measures against the Palestinians, which, if fully implemented, will cause fundamental and irreversible changes on the ground dealing a mortal blow to the two-state solution," the statement read.
Both actions followed an outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas. Israel said it was exercising its right to self-defense against rocket fire from Hamas-controlled territory.
On Friday, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal made his first visit to Gaza in 45 years to mark the organization's 25th anniversary. He entered Gaza from Egypt, returning for the first time to since the 1967 Six Day War.