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Palestinian UN envoy urges condemnation of settlements, demolitions

Nov. 2, 2013 10:21 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 3, 2013 5:41 P.M.)
NEW YORK (Ma'an) -- Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour sent a letter Friday to the UN Security Council calling for international condemnation of Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and home demolitions in East Jerusalem.

According to a statement from his Washington office, Mansour said in the letter that as a result of "the illegal procedures by the Israeli occupation authority on Palestinian land," hopes for peace on the basis of a two-state solution have "vanished."

While Israel continues to "steal" Palestinian land by constructing thousands of new settler units, Palestinian families are being forcibly displaced, the Palestinian ambassador said in the letter.

Monsour urged the international community to condemn Israel's plans to displace over 15,000 Palestinians from East Jerusalem, an act he called "ethnic cleansing" aimed at transforming Jerusalem into a Jewish city.

The international community has a responsibility to make serious efforts in order for the two-state solution to remain possible, the letter continued.

"Otherwise, the state of Palestine will be obliged to consider all diplomatic, legal and political means to protect its lands, its viability and its people’s rights."

Following its release of 26 Palestinian veteran prisoners Wednesday, Israel announced the construction of over 5,000 settler homes to be built in the occupied West Bank.

On Thursday, Israeli municipality officials issued demolition orders for the homes of over 15,000 Palestinians in the Ras Khamis and Ras Shahada neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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