Trump aide Greenblatt returning to Israel for peace talks

Trump aide Greenblatt returning to Israel for peace talks”

Israel continues to build settlements "at a high rate", the United Nations envoy for the Middle East said Monday, September 25, in defiance of Security Council demands for an end to the expansion of Jewish outposts.

From June to September, new construction was mostly in east Jerusalem, with plans for some 2,300 new housing units - a 30% increase from a year ago, he said.

Ending his address, the permanent representative urged the global community to shoulder its legal and ethical responsibilities towards the Palestinian people, end the Israeli occupation, stop all settlement activities and attempts to Judaize Jerusalem, end the unjust siege on Gaza Strip, and hold Israeli officials accountable for their crimes.

Nine months ago, the Security Council adopted a controversial resolution demanding an end to settlements. The resolution marked a striking rupture with past practice by President Barack Obama, who had the USA abstain rather than veto the measure as then president-elect Donald Trump demanded. Trump says he is working for a settlement of the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Israeli officials continue to use provocative rhetoric in support of expansion", said Mladenov.

Greenblatt is scheduled to arrive Tuesday in Israel to continue discussions toward restarting peace talks with the Palestinians, the Israeli media reported, citing unnamed White House officials.

"Overall, since the beginning of 2017, 344 structures have been demolished, a third of them in east Jerusalem, displacing over 500 people", Mladenov said.

It also stressed its backing for achieving a Palestinian national reconciliation and unity among the Palestinian people so as to liberate it and establish an independent sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital based on 1967 borders.

Mladenov said the ongoing settlement expansion "is making the two-state solution increasingly unattainable".

Notwithstanding Trump's meeting with both the Israeli premier and Palestinian leader last week, the White House said the United Nations confab would not serve as a forum for Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy.

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