Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, expressed serious concern over Israel’s decision to modify settlement planning procedures, calling for a complete cessation of all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
In a press statement, Guterres pointed out that such changes are expected to accelerate the advancement of Israeli settlement plans in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. He expressed his “deep concern about the expected progression of more than 4,000 settlement units from Israeli planning authorities next week.”
The UN chief urged the Israeli government to reverse these decisions and to immediately halt all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He stressed that Israel must fully respect its legal obligations in this regard.
Guterres reiterated that settlements constitute a blatant violation of international law. He indicated that “settlements are a major obstacle to achieving a viable two-state solution and a fair, lasting, and comprehensive peace.”
Guterres further noted that “the expansion of these illegal settlements is a primary driver of tensions and violence, leading to deepening humanitarian needs. It entrenches the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, infringes upon Palestinian land and natural resources, impedes the freedom of movement of Palestinian residents, and undermines the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and sovereignty.”
This statement by the UN Secretary-General underlines the international community’s concern over the persistent issue of Israeli settlements, calling for an immediate change in policy to uphold the legal rights of Palestinians and foster lasting peace.