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Israeli settlements irk U.N.'s Ban

Jan. 15, 2013 at 9:39 AM

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under the terms of international law, the U.N. secretary-general said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement through his spokesman expressing concern over Israeli plans to move ahead with settlement construction in the so-called E1 area.

Israeli soldiers and border police Saturday designated the areas as a closed military zone and blocked the access road to prevent Palestinian activists from reaching the site. Ban took note that demonstrations, as well as the protester evacuations, were carried out peacefully.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last month said Israel would continue with plans to settle parts of Jerusalem, including sections of West Bank. Ban, in his statement, reminded Israeli authorities that settlement activity was illegal.

"In this particularly difficult period for the region, all concerned should make serious efforts towards creating the conditions for a resumption of meaningful peace negotiations and to protect the future of the peace process, which is in danger," his statement read.

Palestine has gained further recognition at the United Nations though formal peace talks are in limbo. Ban's concerns come as the European Union announced it was providing $133 million in assistance for the Palestinian people.

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