The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday (10 January 2010) deplored the destruction of the Shepherd’s Hotel in occupied East Jerusalem to make way for new Israeli settlements in the heart of a Palestinian neighbourhood.
Israel’s refusal in late September to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity in the Palestinian territory occupied in the 1967 six-day war, prompted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which had only resumed a few weeks earlier after a two-year hiatus.
Ban said the demolition which took place yesterday “only serves to heighten tensions,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
“It is deeply regrettable that growing international concern at unilateral expansion of illegal Israeli settlements is not being heeded. Such actions seriously prejudice the possibility of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
The Secretary-General again called on the Israeli Government to take “whatever steps are necessary” to freeze settlement activity anywhere in occupied territory, the statement added.