Israel lashes back after UN envoy's comments on settlements

2016-08-30 16:55
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (File, Gali Tibbon, AP).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (File, Gali Tibbon, AP).

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem — Israel on Tuesday lashed out at the UN Mideast envoy, accusing him of "distorting history" in labelling Israeli settlement-building as a main hindrance to peace with the Palestinians.

David Keyes, spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "it is not the presence of Jews, who have lived in the West Bank and Jerusalem for thousands of years, that is a barrier to peace".

"Rather, it is the unceasing efforts to deny that historical connection and a refusal to recognise that Jews are not foreign to Judea," Keyes added, using the biblical term for the territory.

The remarks come a day after United Nations' Mideast envoy Nicolay Mladenov told the Security Council that illegal settlement expansion by Israelis is among the biggest obstacles to peace with the Palestinians.

"The claim that it is illegal for Jews to build in Jerusalem is as absurd as saying Americans can't build in Washington or the French can't build in Paris," Keyes said. "The Palestinian demand to ethnically cleanse their future state of Jews is outrageous and should be condemned by the United Nations instead of being embraced by it."

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem, home to holy sites sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, from Jordan in the 1967 war. Palestinians demand the territory for their future state, with east Jerusalem as their capital. Israel says settlements and other core issues at the heart of the conflict, like security arrangements, should be resolved in negotiations. US-negotiated peace talks collapsed over two years ago, in part over the issue of settlements.

Most of the world views the Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal or illegitimate.

Read more on:    un  |  palestine  |  israel

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.