Israel settlement bid a 'fatal blow' to peace: Ban
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - UN leader Ban Ki Moon warned on Sunday that if Israel implemented its latest plan for new settlements it would deal an "almost fatal blow" to any prospects for peace with the Palestinians.
Israel's announcement about the 3,000 Jewish settler homes, whose planned location was not revealed, came in the wake of a historic vote by the United Nations General Assembly to upgrade Palestine's diplomatic status.
Israeli media reported that some of the new construction would be in E1, a highly contentious area of the West Bank that runs between the easternmost edge of annexed east Jerusalem and the Maaleh Adumim settlement. Palestinians bitterly oppose the E1 project, as it would effectively cut the occupied West Bank in two, north to south, and make the creation of a viable Palestinian state even more problematic.
"It was with grave concern and disappointment that the secretary general learned of Israel's announcement of 3,000 new settlement units in east Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank," a statement from Ban's spokesman said. "This would include reported planning in the so-called E1 envelope, which risks completely cutting off east Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank," the statement said.