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Envoy: World must act against 'colonization campaign'

Aug. 12, 2011 10:58 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 13, 2011 10:06 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour on Friday urged the international community to compel Israel to end its colonization campaign if it really believes in the two-state solution, reports said.

In letters to the UN secretary-general and the presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly, Mansour said "the international community must compel Israel to end its illegal occupation," a Kuwaiti news outlet reported.

This includes Israel's "colonization campaign and must seriously begin to take further effective measures to end the Israeli occupation which began in 1967 to salvage the possibility of the two-state solution."

The letter came in reaction to Israel's "arrogant" and "shameless" announcement to develop 1,600 settlement units in East Jerusalem, and one week after a separate Israeli decision to build 900 additional housing units in another settlement in East Jerusalem, the news agency, KUNA, reported.

"The illegal unilateral actions of the occupying power make it extremely clear to the international community that Israel is not interested in peace, rather it is interested in entrenching its colonization and 44 year-long occupation of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem," Mansour said.

The Palestinian Authority on Thursday slammed the announcement of Israel's interior ministry to build 1,600 new Israeli settlement homes near Jerusalem.

In a statement from Ramallah-based Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's office, the government said the settlement expansion "clearly demonstrate Israel’s intentions to conduct their affairs outside the realm of international law and show total disregard for Palestinian rights."

The spokesman of the Israeli ministry said Thursday that the 1,600 new builds in Ramat Shlomo, would be followed by 2,000 more in Givat Hamatos and 700 in Pisgat Zeev in coming days. Just a week earlier, the ministry had announced 900 new homes in the Jerusalem-Bethlehem settlement Har Homa.

"The Government of Israel continues to expand settlement activity while it makes claims that it wants to return to the negotiation table," the Palestinian Authority statement said.

"These actions are being taken despite international pressure and consensus that these are occupied territory that belongs to Palestinians."

The West Bank-based government urged the international community "to take immediate action to force Israel to comply with international law and cease and desist from its illegal expansion and annexation of Palestinian land," the statement said.
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