UN: Israel Settlements Big Hurdle to Two-State Solution
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, has lashed out at Israel's illegal settlement activity, calling it a "major obstacle" to achieving a two-state solution and peace with the Palestinians.
"There is no plan B to the two-state solution," he said on Tuesday after meeting Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Al Jazeera news network reported.
"A two-state solution, end to occupation, creating conditions to end the suffering of the Palestinian people are the only way to guarantee that peace is established," he added.
His remarks came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to never uproot any settlements from the West Bank, just days after a White House envoy was in the region trying to restart peace talks with the Palestinians.
"We have returned here for good," Netanyahu said. "There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the Land of Israel. Settlements will not be uprooted."
In response to Netanyahu's comments, Guterres told reporters on Tuesday that both Israel and the Palestinians should refrain from taking any action that could undermine the prospects for a peaceful agreement.
"We believe that settlement activity is illegal in the international law and it's an obstacle for peace, we are obviously in a disagreement of what was said," he said.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah expressed frustration that the US peace team was taking too long to answer questions on where it stands regarding Israeli settlements and the two-state solution.
He said there was no clear commitment from the US to end the settlement activity, and as a result of it the activity continued and the Palestinians continued to lose land.
Hamdallah also called on the UN to "protect the Palestinian people and Muslim holy sites" from repeated Israeli violations.