“I am deeply troubled by reports (Tuesday) that the Israeli Government has approved plans for over 150 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank,” said Ban.
“These provocative acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead.”
Ban also condemned recent Palestinian violence, including knife attacks against Israeli citizens. However he said that security measures alone could not address the problem. “They cannot address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians – especially young people,” he said.
Ban spoke during a recurring Security Council open debate on the Middle East and Palestine.
Samantha Power, the permanent representative of the United States to the UN, said that the United States was deeply concerned by recent Israeli settlements.
“The United States strongly opposes settlement activity, including some steps Israel has taken this month. We are deeply concerned about reports of a declaration of more than 370 acres in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank as state land,” said Power.
She added that the occupations should not be an excuse for Palestinian violence.
“Let me make crystal clear … that settlement activity can never itself be an excuse for violence,” she said.
Liu Jieyi, China’s permanent representative to the UN told the council that the international community should urge both Palestine and Israel to take immediate actions to ease tension.
“As a party who has an upper hand, Israel should take the lead in this regard. At the same time, legitimate security concerns of the countries in this region should be given proper attention,” he said.
The Chinese envoy also called on the international community to take “more robust measures” and reactivate the peace process so as to bring both parties to the negotiating table.
Riyad al-Maliki, foreign minister of the State of Palestine, told the meeting that the question of Palestine was one of the longest standing issues on the UN agenda.
“Every day that passes with (the UN) failing to shoulder its Charter duties means the death of more innocent civilians, more destruction of property, lives and the prospects for peace, and more hopelessness, representing a continual and growing threat to international peace and security,” said al-Maliki.
The Middle East peace process has been stalled since April 2014 due to deep differences between over borders and settlement. By now, there have been no serious actions to resume the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Recent months have witnessed an wave of violent tension between Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Enditem